SOUTH BEND - The big chain stores aren't the only ones cashing in on the Black Friday rush. Local small businesses are hoping to draw big crowds too. Two new stores in downtown South Bend opened earlier this week. And it might not have been possible if not for a D-T-S-B program.
In October, DTSB and the city announced they'd offer small businesses a store front free of rent for the first few months. Two are up and running and they hope the holiday season is just the beginning of a longer stay in downtown.
What was recently an empty space is now overflowing with the spirit of the season.
"We did it all in about a week,” said Dawn Cody, an employee at A Homestead Shoppe on North Michigan Street in South Bend. “So it was numerous truckloads and late hours, but we got it all in."
A Homestead Shop is one of the new stores in downtown South Bend that took the city up on its offer for a rent free location. The free rent lease was offered by invitation only to businesses selected by DTSB and the City of South Bend. Stores get the free space at least to mid-January. The deal states they have to be open certain hours and on weekends. When the free period is up, the company will have the opportunity to sign a long-term lease. A Homestead Shoppe has been open less than a week, but it hope to snag some Black Friday shoppers.