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Store owner hosts shopping event to showcase other West Michigan minority-owned businesses

The Holiday Shopping Extravaganza is each Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. until Dec. 23.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Shop local.

That's the message one Grand Rapids business owner has for people this holiday season. And she's helping other local and minority-owned businesses enter the spotlight as well.

Amanda Morton's custom teddy bear business, Cuddle Buddys, just opened a storefront on Black Friday.

But she knows others like her don't have that luxury.

"So I was like why not invite other businesses in, have everybody kind of share the space, share responsibility," says Morton.

That's where the idea for the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza came from.

Morton invited several locally-owned businesses who only do online sales to sell products out of her store.

"I feel like you can buy really for most people on your list, everything would be here," she says.

And at a time of year where national big box stores dominate the market, shopping small businesses helps the local economy.

"That money stays here in your community," says Morton.

Morton also says the pandemic makes local businesses more enticing safety-wise as well.

"You can come in and see everything in, what, ten minutes?" she says. "There's not much of, hey, I've got to go in a mall and expose myself for ten hours." 

And for minority-owned businesses, like hers and each of the others in the event, Morton hopes the Holiday Shopping Extravaganza will help give them more publicity.

"Exposure is really hard for minority-owned businesses," she says. "And the more things I'm experiencing, the more I'm realizing that support doesn't exist."

The Holiday Shopping Extravaganza is each Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. until Dec. 23. Cuddle Buddys is located at 4520 Breton Road in Kentwood.

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