Hoosiers hit the web for Cyber Monday deals

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Millions of shoppers were expected to spend nearly $8 billion and countless hours at work cashing in on Cyber Monday deals.

For years, small businesses feared giant internet retailers would siphon money from brick and mortar stores. It turns out that much of that money is staying close to home and local business.

Mike Batarseh is a small business owner at the City Market. He worries his online shopping for specialty coffees might take money away from other local businesses.

“Once a year I shop online for Cyber Monday. It is a tradition,” Batarseh said.

Internet shopping is even bigger than Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Workers at the downtown Roberts Camera store had their hands full.

“Today we walked in to about 300 orders waiting for us. It was awesome,” said Meredith Reinker, the store's marketing manager.

It is a small Hoosier family business. Monday, while the spacious showroom was quiet and nearly empty of customers, the dimly lit, crowded loading dock was abuzz with business. Workers packed and shipped about 500 orders placed on Amazon, eBay and the company’s own website.

“For us, Cyber Monday is one of the busiest shipping days of the year, one of the biggest shopping days of the year,” Reinker said.

Research has found a third of small businesses now sell online.

A stack of boxes ready for shipping were headed for California, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, Arizona and other states.

Internet sales now total half of Roberts' revenue.

“Our warehouse is a picture of the internet,” Reinker said.

Small businesses that once feared they would be strangled by the internet appear to be embracing it and the money it is bringing through the doors.

Online sales are providing other revenue and jobs to the state. Amazon’s five Indiana fulfillment centers reportedly employ about 9,000 Hoosiers.

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