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Charlottesville Stores See Increase in Shoppers on Small Business Saturday

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Alakazam Toys & Gifts Alakazam Toys & Gifts
Stores on the Downtown Mall took part in the event Stores on the Downtown Mall took part in the event
Shoppers in Charlottesville on Small Business Saturday Shoppers in Charlottesville on Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday in Charlottesville Small Business Saturday in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

With Black Friday in the rear view mirror, shoppers in Charlottesville are setting out to support small businesses in their own backyard.

Hundreds checked items off their holiday shopping lists on this Small Business Saturday.

Small businesses on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall and in the Barrack's Road Shopping Center saw an increased number of shoppers on Saturday, November 25, as this annual event reminded people about the importance of "shopping small."

For the eighth year in a row, locally owned shops in Charlottesville are benefitting from Small Business Saturday, an event started by American Express in 2010.

“Small Business Saturday is really about remembering that it’s small businesses that drive your community, they’re the people that hire locally, that support all the community charities, and they’re the things that make downtown special,” says Joan Fenton, chair of the Downtown Business Association and owner of Quilts Unlimited.

The shopping holiday, which takes place the day after Black Friday, encourages shoppers to buy items from stores in their own communities.

“People tend to think of Thanksgiving as going some place to a big box and getting some kind of deal and waiting online or whatever, and in the end you buy one thing and you spend all your time doing that and that money goes out of the area and it doesn’t support anybody in your community,” says Fenton.

This annual event continues to grow each year.

On this day in 2016, small businesses served 112 million customers nationally - up from 95 million the year before.

Stores in Charlottesville are seeing that trend of more foot traffic.

“Usually a very busy day traditionally, it can sometimes be busier than Black Friday for us,” says Cassandra Mathis, owner of Alakazam Toys & Gifts.

Store owners in the area have also noticed that the event gets more popular with each year.

“From year to year, Small Business Saturday has really caught on and become a tradition in families around the community of Charlottesville so we're really excited to see it grow and grow each year,” says Tiffany Smith, owner of The Virginia Shop.

Last year, small businesses across the country took in more than $15 billion thanks to this event.

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