PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day that last year attracted 88 million shoppers to locally owned retailers.

It’s a five-year-old national effort to remind consumers that the malls are not the only place to shop.

In fact, forget the shopping malls with traffic and parking hassles, America’s small business owners want you to “Shop Small” during this Christmas season.

“We work very hard at what we do, and when you support small businesses, you’re supporting a family-owned business like ourselves to grow and succeed,” says Mindy Moran, co-owner of Jonathan Moran Woodworks in the Strip District.

The Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is called Small Business Saturday.

Local business owners love it.

“I think it’s a wonderful promotion, and we have found the people listen and do participate, so we’re really looking forward to Small Business Saturday this year,” says Brian Coyne, owner of Backstage Alpaca Pittsburgh in the Strip.

In Pittsburgh, almost every neighborhood has its own business district with plenty of small businesses.

In the Strip, almost every store is a small business.

But if you’re looking for one-stop small business shopping, nothing quite beats the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip.

Rich Westerfield, general manager of the Public Market, was finishing up a chalkboard on Small Business Saturday.

“You’ll look around here, and pretty much everybody here is an independent entrepreneur,” Westerfield told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

“They’re really living their dream, providing unique products that really can’t be found anyplace else.”

Ben Dougherty at PGH Po’ Boy Cajun cuisine says shopping small is patriotic.

“It’s sort of what America is built on — the entrepreneur, someone coming up with an idea and going for it and creating a great product or service for the community,” says Dougherty.

Shoppers say you find unique holiday gifts at small shops.

“Everything that is in my bag today, I would never find that out at the mall,” said Vanessa Jenkin.

And even if you have to seek out a particular small business, added Fred Schmalz, “That little bit of extra effort is worth it.”

Shop owners say their products are better.

“You get a product that has a lot of love put into it,” says Moran.

And unlike the malls where finding a clerk is tough, notes Coyne, “Here, we’re one-on-one.”

Another reason to “Shop Small.”

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