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Small Businesses Staying Afloat Amid Recession

LAS VEGAS -- Small, locally-owned businesses are trying to get noticed in the middle of Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Many independent retail stores are barely staying afloat from the recession.

Locally-owned and operated stores often lose price wars against larger brand-name stores. When it comes to choice and options, online shopping is a fierce competitor.

"We're hanging in there and I think the difference between us and a lot of big box stores is the personal service," said Dansey's Hobbies co-owner Judy Lugo. "We usually pick up around the 10th, the 12th, and we run it right through until New Years."

Other locally-owned stores in a variety of businesses say they hope and expect for a sales surge in the middle of the month. It couldn't come soon enough for Dansey's Hobby store. Hit by a recession and competition from larger toy and electronic stores, hobby store owners say their sales have gone down by around a third.

Of the few remaining locally-owned bookstores in town, one is thinking of taking his shop in a new direction.

"Only online. I doubt we will have a store. We even considered just selling online when we moved two years ago, but we decided to have a storefront," said Bestseller Books owner Mark Johnston.

The remaining independent bookstores are moving to fill in a specialty used book market. But right now, they're finding their customers are more willing to sell old books rather than buy newer ones.

But Bestseller Books is also hoping for a mid-December sales increase, hoping that shoppers seek them out as last minute gift options.

As an incentive to shop locally, small business owners also make the point that Nevada is hit hard by a budget crisis. Sales tax a customer pays goes to pay for state services. Many online sales do not.