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Small Business Saturday more crucial than ever amid pandemic

The shopping holiday is something all small business owners look forward to every holiday season.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday(WABI)
Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 4:29 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) -

Small Business Saturday was originated by American Express, with the hopes folks would support the businesses that drive their communities.

American Express estimated that 110 million shoppers took advantage of Small Business Saturday, generating a record $19.6 billion in spending nationwide last year.

This year, as more shoppers place online gift orders from companies like Amazon and Target, supporting small businesses is crucial.

Although there are no statistics available on Small Business Saturday’s impact on Maine, some studies show that about 68 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community, opposed to just 43 cents for a big box store.

Back in 2010 when small business Saturday started, it was very important as the country was in the middle of a recession, now as we’re in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic the day means more than ever.

“People need hope, and we’ve seen a lot of businesses go out unfortunately, and so it’s been a tough year for everybody, but having that hope that dream, looking forward to something, that’s what we need right now, and people are supporting, we’re really happy with what’s happening, with local business and down here on Water Street it’s been amazing,” said David Hopkins, who co-owns Merkaba Sol in Downtown Augusta.

Hopkins said when the pandemic hit back in March, business was shaky for him and other businesses on Water Street.

“We all need to help each other out, that’s what it’s all about, so shopping small will keep food on the table for all of the business owners down here and people need it, it’s about hope,” he added.

“I hope that people are supporting our other local small businesses downtown, I’m planning on doing some shopping downtown and eating out when I get out of work this afternoon,” said Christy Eastman, a server at Downtown Diner in Augusta.

Although things were shaky for Hopkins, he was optimistic about the holiday season, and said in his businesses case, things are starting to look up.

“The energy on Water Street is picking up and things are happening, the holidays, I mean who doesn’t like Christmas, so we’re just happy to be here, Small Business Saturday has been amazing so far, so we’re looking good to a holiday season I think.”

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