Local businesses saw a boost in customers this Saturday thanks to the Papillion Downtown Business Association.

The association held Shop Small Business Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. downtown. Taking place during the city’s Winter Wonderland holiday event, lots of new faces wandered into these local businesses, owners said.

Kim Ahlers, Kajoma’s Boutique Owner and Papillion Downtown Business Association president, said her clothing store was packed all day. She said the day incentives community members to shop locally rather than at mass chains or online.

Ahlers talked to many customers who said they’re making an effort to shop for gifts locally this year.

“Without the people coming in we wouldn’t have our business,” Ahlers said. “It makes a big difference.”

Brownie’s Watering Hole owner Lee Brown also saw an influx of customers during the event and said the entire week was busier than usual.

“It does bring a lot of new people, these events like this,” Brown said. “It brings people down here that aren’t normally our customers.”

About 300 people came by TriPointe Coffeehouse, compared to the typical 30 to 40 customers, said Chris Evenson, pastor of the faith-based coffee shop.

“When there’s foot traffic outside, they always come in,” Evenson said.

The weather also helped, he said. The night was cold enough that people wanted coffee to warm up, but not so cold that they didn’t come out.

Evenson said he and TriPointe Coffeehouse owner Heather Evenson understand how important it is to support local businesses and put it into practice in their own business. Everything they buy for the coffee shop — such as the coffee beans, tea and honey — are purchased locally.

“If all the money is going to the big corporations, the people with dreams and aspirations give up,” Chris said. “But America was built on (small businesses).”

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