NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Small business owners are hoping for big sales this weekend as the holiday shopping season officially begins — and it’s crucial, especially since there are less than four weeks until Christmas.

The planning at Bicycles Plus starts early to ensure that inventory meets holiday season demands.

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“We start thinking ahead at the beginning of the year, because this is one of the biggest sale days in the year,” said Assistant Store Manager Josh Milton. “Make sure we have enough people here to greet everybody that comes through the door, and everybody here is friendly and caffeinated so we’re ready for the day.”

Small businesses rely on the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas for their survival, especially as they battle online shopping. And they count on customers like little Donald Ainscow and his daughter, Eleanor.

“She’s 2 years old, and I think it’s time to get her her first bike,” he said. “I think you can get better prices online, but I do feel a bond. I think it’s important to be able to come in and talk to people.”

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At boutique Pretty Southern Mess, owner Nikki Morrell is banking on her Pink Friday sale for a season she calls both exciting and scary.

“This time of year is super essential, because this small season is where we make up most of our money for the year,” Morrell said. “This is where we do I would say 50 to 80 percent of our sales.”

Both businesses say their Black Friday sales will actually go through Monday. They’re hoping customers check off their shopping lists — and then some.

“I came to buy a bike for my daughter for Christmas,” said customer Derry Burns. “I’m going to buy something for myself while I’m here, too!”

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The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will increase about 4% over last year. It also found that more than half of shoppers actually started their holiday shopping before Halloween.