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Shopping small: Minnesotans support local retailers on Small Business Saturday

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It's become a nice contrast to the frenzied atmosphere of Black Friday holiday shopping – Small Business Saturday, which encourages shoppers to patronize the stores that are owned by local people in their own communities.

Locally owned retailers in communities around Minnesota saw a lot of activity Saturday due to that extra attention, and many had special activities or promotions going on.

Nearly 30 events for Small Business Saturday were scheduled in the Twin Cities metro area, according to KSTP. One of them took place at the St. Anthony Village Shops where 25 small companies came together under one roof, the station noted.

KARE 11 visited another community, Hopkins, which attracted visitors to its shops along Main Street with Santa and his reindeer, as well as sleigh rides.

Many stores in downtown Hopkins were enjoying a busy day full of customers.

"I think it's fabulous. My mom owns a small business and my brother owns a small business, so definitely," Janel Hoekenga of Eagan told KARE 11.

And the stores are seeing the impact of the special attention. Some local businesses say the Saturday after Thanksgiving has become one of, if not the biggest day of the year for them in terms of sales.

Small Business Saturday has been around for five years now to help local retailers around the country better compete with big-box stores, and its importance to those independently owned businesses has grown dramatically.

Nationwide, shoppers spent $5.7 billion on Small Business Saturday last year. Organizers hope that number will increase this year to $5.9 billion. Even President Obama got into the spirit of things.

State records indicate Minnesota has 494,788 small businesses, according to KSTP. They employ 97.7 percent of the state's workers.

The Small Business Administration estimates for every $1 spent with a local vendor, 65 cents of it stays in the local community.

"The small businesses are really the ones who keep the economy going, hire even part-time workers, they create a lot of jobs in the community," said Chad Gillard of Midwest Pantry, who organized the one-stop shopping event in St. Anthony Village, according to KSTP.

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