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Local Businesses Hope Customers Support Small Business Saturday

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Right in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday. It's a national push to get more customers out to community stores.

As Gigi Barnett explains, there's another benefit of spending money close to home.

Sale signs line the aisles and cash registers chime at big box stores on the busiest shopping weekend of the year. But the day after Black Friday leads to Small Business Saturday, a day for local stores to get in on the shopping frenzy.

"Big stores, they might get something to buy--to give a gift--but this is someone who can have coffee and drink and eat," said Hiywot Kassa, Jovial Cafe.

Hiywot Kassa owns Jovial Cafe in the heart of Pigtown. Hers is one of several stores in that neighborhood urging customers to shop small and shop local.

"Every dollar that's spent here in Pigtown stays here in Pigtown. It's reinvested and that's what this is all about," said Ben Hyman, director of Pigtown Main Street.

Hyman says another reason to shop small is the fact that local stores don't have the mega-advertising bucks of larger stores but shoppers can still find unique items and help neighbors keep their jobs.

"When you talk about supporting our local merchants this really hits home, because these folks are right here in the community," Hyman said.

Small Business Saturday started about three years ago and its main goal is to boost business. But neighbors say it also gives them a chance to grab a cup of coffee or eat some lunch and really find out what's happening in the community.

"You know the owners and they know what you like and you can sit down and you can have a conversation with your neighbors and talk about neighborhood things," said shopper Maggie Plaisted.

And it keeps cash in the community.

More than 500,000 small businesses across the country are participating.

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