Shoppers browse through comic books and memorabilia at Kaboom Comics on Saturday in McAllen. Francisco E. Jimenez | The Monitor

While Black Friday has become a staple for many people attempting to get an early start on their holiday shopping, Small Business Saturday continues to present an opportunity for those looking for something unique, while helping the mom and pop businesses.

One such business that participated in Small Business Saturday is Kaboom Comics, located at 3525 N. 10th St. in McAllen.

Roy Saenz is the manager at the comic book store, and said that it has definitely seen an influx of customers over the weekend.

“For sure, I’ve gotten an extra spike in traffic. We usually have a little bit busier mornings anyway,” Saenz said. “Yesterday for Black Friday was our first year participating in it. Normally, we just hold out for Small Business Saturday, and we had a really crazy day. Enough so that we actually ran out of bags. We’re actually out of bags right now.”

Kaboom Comics offered deals for the customers, including 15% off action figures and two posters for $20, among others.

“Normally, it doesn’t pick up on Saturdays until about 4 or 5. Of course, it’s busy just from the gaming, but right now it’s been consistent since the moment we opened up the door,” Saenz added.

Saenz explained that days like Small Business Saturday help the store make it through slower months that usually follow the holidays.

“November is obviously the start of the holiday season, when it really starts to pick up. This is just a coin in the bag to be able to help guests for the rest of the year, too,” Saenz said. “Starting in January is when things start to slow down a little bit more. With the bump that we’ve had from this weekend’s sales, it’s obviously going to help out to make sure that we make it past the slower parts of the year. This weekend is really going to help boost everything up for us for a while.”

Another local small business that saw a spike in activity on Saturday is J’aime Les Livres, an independent bookstore converted from a house on 1219 N. Main St. in McAllen.

The bookstore has been owned and operated by Martha Medina for almost nine years. She said that she opened the bookstore as a way to promote literacy and provide a safe space for her children and their friends to hang out.

A customer browses through books at J’aime Les Livres in McAllen on Saturday. Francisco E. Jimenez | The Monitor

“At the time, my own children were still in high school and middle school. I also wanted a place for them to come and hang out, just a safe environment, be surrounded by books, and maybe do their after school projects here. That worked out,” Medina said. “They went off to universities. They’re now gone. I still hope that people will come, buy books and read. It’s so important. I used to read a lot when I was growing up.”

While books are the main draw to J’aime Les Livres, Medina’s love and appreciation for art plays a big role in the aesthetic of the small building. Works from local artists are displayed on the walls of the charming bookstore.

“We also hold painting sessions here now because I always wanted to incorporate art,” Medina said. “I’ve always had art on my walls from local artists. I’ve always invited them to come and place their artwork here. I do not charge them to come put their artwork here. I just enjoy being surrounded by books and artwork.”

Medina said that this particular Small Business Saturday has been a little slower than those of the past, but hopes that more people visit the local businesses in the area.

“Normally, my Small Business Saturday is pretty busy,” Medina, who gave out free book bags filled with coupons to other local businesses for purchases of $20 or more, said. “I’ve noticed that it’s a little quiet today. It’s a steady flow. I hope more people go out and shop local. Support our local businesses. That’s important.”