PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With all the focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s easy to forget Small Business Saturday, a day important to mom-and-pop shopkeepers all over the country.

“If people don’t support the local business merchants, we just won’t be here because we depend on our community,” Ilene Levy, the owner of Glassworks and Cheeks on Walnut Street, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Many other Shadyside shops like Roberta Weissburg Leathers are counting on you spending part of your holiday budget on small businesses.

“The support we get from the public is tremendous,” added Roberta Weissburg, “and I think it recreates the sense of America being a country of neighbor and friends, rather than just cold, corporate structures.”

Getting shoppers to visit neighborhood stores – instead of those suburban malls – is not always easy.

Parking and parking tickets can deter, but not this Saturday in the city.

To encourage more people to shop at the neighborhoods small businesses on Small Business Saturday, Pittsburgh City Council approved a measure that makes parking free this Saturday.

And to attract customers, many shops like Four Winds Gallery are giving away items with purchases.

“The gift we’re offering is handmade American Indian Navaho Christmas ornaments. These were all made on the reservation,” said John Krena of Four Winds Gallery.

Local Shadyside Chamber of Commerce director Torie Mistick says forget the early hours and mall madness.

“We want everyone to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families – everyone here is going to do that – and come see us on Saturday,” Mistick added.

Many neighborhood business districts are offering similar incentives on Small Business Saturday, so be sure to check out your local community shops.

And it never hurts reminding that local businesses employ more Americans than all those big companies combined. But the small shops cannot survive if we spend all our Christmas dollars at the mall or online.

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