Economic experts are predicting many people will be out supporting their local businesses today.By Bryant Reed

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but today shoppers are set to spend money at their favorite mom and pop shops.

Small Business Saturday highlights the local stores that help keep the economy moving.

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Small businesses have high hopes this year since many people say the pandemic strengthened their loyalties to small businesses.

And experts say they won’t be holding back on spending money.

A Lending Tree survey points out that nearly 50% of shoppers plan to head out to their favorite local shops today.

And on average, they’re expected to spend more than $300 per person as they shop for holiday gifts.

Close to home, business owners on Penn Avenue tell KDKA they are expecting to see more sales than they ever have during this time of year.

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Small businesses had a hard time at the height of the pandemic, and business owners say they’ve tried to recover, but they still aren’t where they’d like to be.

A study shows that, as we’ve almost finished the second year of COVID-19, about 63% of people know a small business that had to close its doors permanently.

But it’s not just on Small Business Saturday that you have to shop small — owners say you could always shop online, buy gift cards and even be intentional about shopping there.

And in honor of Small Business Saturday, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority is offering free parking in all of its metered lots and metered street spots.

It is part of an agreement between the city and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to attract more people to small businesses in the city.

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And remember on-street parking is also free on Sunday as well.