Holiday shoppers in central Virginia are just beginning to dig into the deals a day after Black Friday's big sales. Small Business Saturday is a day created by credit card company American Express to encourage people to shop local.
Small businesses on the Charlottesville downtown mall had doors opening and closing at a steady pace. Shop owners say Saturday was a busy one, but it did not compare to the hustle and bustle of Black Friday.
Shoppers hit stores along the downtown mall Saturday to cross items off their holiday wish lists and support small businesses at the same time.
Shanghai Girl accessory shop owner Vivian Ji expected customer turnout to be more like Black Friday's, if it wasn't for the 20-degree-temperature drop. On Black Friday, shoppers barely needed a jacket while customers bundled up for Small Business Saturday.
"I think today's really really freezing and people prefer to go to big malls or maybe stay inside, have a good time with their family," Ji stated.
Employees at the New Dominion Bookshop say they are counting two straight days of strong business. Ben Hunt of New Dominion Bookshop stated, "Christmas shopping, we've had a few requests for local books, books about Virginia, Charlottesville, the university."
Bremen Donovan browsed for books. She says it does not take a special day for her to shop local, it is something she does year-round. Donovan says small businesses give shoppers an experience big box stores cannot provide.
"The more you chose to shop in bigger stores the less likely people are going to be patronizing stores like this and the less likely they are to stick around and you see it happening and it's really sad," she said.
American Express estimates 103 million Americans shopped last year for small business Saturday.