There was no crowd lined up in the wee hours of the morning outside of CJ’s Coffee Café in downtown Denison. Paul Morrow, the owner of Redhead’s Resale, did not open at midnight to accommodate the throngs. Jamie Underwood, who started Et Cetera boutique four years ago, did not discount her flat screen TVs for Black Friday — the only TV she sells comes complete with a record player.

There was no crowd lined up in the wee hours of the morning outside of CJ’s Coffee Café in downtown Denison. Paul Morrow, the owner of Redhead’s Resale, did not open at midnight to accommodate the throngs. Jamie Underwood, who started Et Cetera boutique four years ago, did not discount her flat screen TVs for Black Friday — the only TV she sells comes complete with a record player.


Yet each of these entrepreneurs and countless others in Texoma are counting on the holiday shopping season to keep them in the black. And that’s where Small Business Saturday comes in.


Now in its third year, the semi-national, semi-official shopping holiday was conceived in 2010 as an answer to the lucrative retail hoopla surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The city of Denison has participated every year. Downtown businesses say the results have been mixed, but the concept is much appreciated.


For CJ’s owner Nancy Gentry, it was a first.


"We’ve never stayed open on this weekend before, and the talk of the other businesses was this is their busiest day of the year," said Gentry. "There have been people who’ve come through and said, ‘Hey we want to support the small businesses,’ so we have had customers come specifically for that."


Donna Holt, who runs A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That on the 200 block of Main Street, was one of several business owners who said they’ve enlisted social media to help compete with the big box stores.


"I post a lot on Facebook and on Craigslist, so we get quite a bit of traffic on Saturday from that. I put pictures of everything we have on my site, so they can see before they get here. (Today) we’ve had a lot of lookers, a whole lot of foot traffic."


Paul Morrow has been in business only a few weeks, but already he seems to understand the importance of Internet chatter. As a large group of customers perused his wares and snacked on free cupcakes, he reminded each to look for Redhead’s Resale on Facebook.


"We organized our grand opening to go along with Small Business Saturday and Black Friday, and today we put marketing efforts into it behind the SBS campaign," said Morrow. "It’s been great; it’s been very steady. We’ve had really good traffic all day long. "


Jamie Underwood at Et Cetera said the shopping holiday was helped considerably by mother nature this year.


"The sun’s shining; it’s a pretty day; the weather’s really helping. It’s definitely better than last Small Business Saturday," said Underwood in between welcoming customers to her shop that specializes in "shabby chic." "I saw a woman carrying around a Small Business Saturday bag, so it’s (a known event). They have it on Facebook. It’s definitely out there."


For Mike Gaedtke and Brea Smith, the event was a chance to do some Christmas shopping, entertain visiting relatives, and familiarizing themselves with the changing face of downtown Denison.


"We actually just moved here in the last six months, so it’s just kind of cool to see what all they have in the small businesses," said Gaedtke. "My parents are in town, and they definitely like antique stores also. It’s just kind of fun to get out, especially the way the weather’s been."


Back at CJ’s Coffee Café, Nancy Gentry said small, local stores face an uphill battle, but the revitalization of downtown has given her, and other entrepreneurs, a valuable advantage.


"I feel like everybody focuses on those big chains that are running those big sales," said Gentry. "But the downtown has been good for us overall. In fact, the downtown is so thriving, we are actually looking to expand to another location. People are trying to support small business, so that’s just always really nice to hear."