With the increase in online shopping, manufactured shopping holidays like Black Friday have been losing its luster in recent years. However, there’s still Small Business Saturday to lure shoppers out of their homes.

“We want to encourage people to go out of their ways to support these businesses,” said U.S. Representative Kathy Castor earlier this week. “They are the ones that make our economy grow. They make our economy strong, and those dollars circulate right here in our own economy.”

The shopping day was first conceived of by American Express in 2009 in an effort to help small companies still mired in the recession, and its grown in popularity. In 2012, consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion at small retailers on Small Business Saturday. By 2015, that amount nearly tripled to $16.2 billion, according to Fortune.

A 2012 study from the research firm Civic Economics found that local retailers return an average of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared with just 14 percent for chain retailers.

“When our neighbors spend their money in a small business locally owned, those dollars stay in the local area, as opposed to when you go to a big box retail store,” said Castor while standing inside Cleanse Apothecary in Seminole Heights earlier this week. The Congresswoman said that the neighborhood has seen several new businesses open in what used to strictly be an industrial type area in recent years.

“It’s just exploded in the past couple of years,” says David Hanson, co-owner of Urban Bungalow, a retail store and bath and body shop. Hanson says that his business has adapted to the wishes of the neighborhood in recent years, “and that’s part of our success.”

“Being a small business owner, it’s rewarding, it’s hard work, and you really have to love your community, and if you do they’ll love you back,” enthused Leigh Anne

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