WAUKESHA, Wis. — Small Business Saturday is all about supporting our local businesses. But this year in Waukesha, Wisconsin, many business owners are giving that support right back to their community.
Several stores are donating a portion of their proceeds to the United for Waukesha Community Fund. The fund is helping to support victims of the Christmas parade tragedy, where a man drove his SUV into the annual parade, killing six people and injuring dozens.
Just outside the front door of the Burlap and Lace Marketplace on Main Street is a memorial to honor the victims of the parade tragedy that happened the weekend before. The store is one of the businesses donating to the community fund.
"I live in Waukesha for a reason, and I live right in downtown Waukesha," said Burlap and Lace owner Tami Evanoff when talking about the strength of the community. "It felt amazing for us to wrap our arms around everybody on Sunday and it feels amazing feeling everybody wrap their arms around us now."
The store sells goods from over 100 mostly local vendors. More than half of those vendors are donating a portion of their proceeds all weekend, anywhere from 10% to 100%, to the community fund.
Hundreds of people came through the store on Saturday, some waiting for more than an hour in line not only to support the local store but also to support their community.
Debi Iams was visiting family from Illinois for the holiday weekend and said she picked up eight of the "Waukesha Strong" ornaments being sold at the store.
"We all watched with tears in our eyes last week and so this, this was good. I feel good supporting the people here 'cause they're always good when we come here," Iams said.
The ornaments are $5 each and Evanoff said over $1,000 have been sold so far. She said the maker was at the parade when the incident happened and wanted to help his community recover.
But it's not just the ornaments. Pottery, jewelry, "Waukesha Strong" shirts, and other goods also being sold at the store will help benefit the fund.
Evanoff said the generosity she's seeing inside her own store is overwhelming, especially when people donate above and beyond what they've purchased.
"Once this weekend is over and I'm able to," Evanoff said with a deep breath, "I think it will all hit me then."
This story was originally published by Sarah McGrew at WTMJ.