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Local stores drawing in big crowds this holiday weekend

"I think if the pandemic taught us anything it’s that nothing is guaranteed."

NEW ORLEANS — You can't go wrong digging through the crates at Peaches Records. It's one of the reasons so many shoppers chose to flip through their collections and go local on Black Friday.

"Oh my god, I mean, to get the gift of music, right? You give someone that album that turns into their favorite record of all time and they’ll love you for life," Peaches Records owner Lee Rea said.

If that's not enough to lure customers in, their neighbors New York Pizza, Ms. Mae's, and Undergrowth Coffee all sweetened the deal by dropping off pizza, beer, and other goodies for customers.

"I think if the pandemic taught us anything it’s that nothing is guaranteed," Rea said "It’s so important to come together as a community in New Orleans and help each other out.”

That sentiment also spreads across parish lines, where the small businesses on Severn Avenue have something new to be thankful for this year: A clear road. Severn Avenue is open again after construction lingered for more than a year past the initial estimate.

"They did such a good job," Once Upon a Child Metairie owner Darlene Yetta said. "People would come in and say we couldn’t even get to you… So, it was a little stressful for us.”

That fresh asphalt brought in plenty of customers on Black Friday — some of them even lining up before the store opened.

"That's a good sign," Yetta said. "People are recognizing it's important to come to a small businesses."

That's true across the country this year. A recent survey showed that 65% of shoppers plan on buying from a small business this weekend — in-person or online.

It's good news for local businesses that rely on the holiday season to set them up for success year-round.

“The holidays are very important for local businesses. If we don’t do well now, it may not ensure our future," Rea said. “It’s super important to come out for the holidays and support people."

There's still plenty of time to find a great gift at a local business. For inspiration, check out this guide.

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