WAUKESHA, Wis. — For many small businesses, Black Friday has never been a sales boon.
"We can't compete with that. They [big box stores] would give things away, basically, that we couldn't even buy at those kind of prices," said Norman Bruce, who owns Martha Merrell's Books and Toys with his wife Eve.
For 27 years, his small shop on Main Street in Waukesha has offered another kind of value.
"We had to find a way to compete, and how we competed was with customer service, finding individual things for people," said Bruce. "We're kind of like book detectives. Even things that are out of print. We get for our customers."
That special care, according to Bruce, keeps people coming back.
"I drove to Waukesha to support Waukesha and I like bookstores," said Diane Christiaansen. "Just thinking about the people here and knowing what they had gone through."
On Sunday, a man, who's now been charged with murder, drove his car through Waukesha's annual Christmas Parade, killing six and injuring dozens.
Bruce and Eve welcomed around 200 people, including some of the injured, inside to shelter from the threat.
The books and various stuffed animals, said Bruce, brought comfort to many frightened children.
Bruce said that other activities — including the city's horse drawn carriage rides that begin on Friday — draw customers downtown.
Saturday, nationwide, is Small Business Saturday, another American shopping created deliberately to boost revenue at those smaller shops on Main Street.
Bruce said he expects far more customers this weekend.