HALLOWELL — The mugs at the Holiday Pottery Shop caught the eye of Christina Juarez of Sidney, who was out shopping specifically to support small businesses on Saturday.

“I am Christmas shopping for my family,” she said, holding up two mugs. “I’m getting (one) for my husband and one for me.”

A couple of shoppers had waited outside for the 8 a.m. opening of Berry & Berry Floral’s Water Street shop in Hallowell.

“They specifically said they were here to support Small Business Saturday,” said Aurilla Holt, who co-owns both that florist shop and one under the same name in Gardiner with her husband, John Holt. “They bought a couple of holiday ornaments.”

The shop promotes other small businesses as well, selling candy from Kennebec Chocolates in Augusta, jarred candles from Calley Hill Candles in Hampden, and jewelry from Ellie’s Earrings in Portland.

Niesje McKeown and her aunt Suzanne Daigle had traveled to central Maine from near the Canadian border. They had begun shopping very early Friday, spent the night and were returning with a car full of presents on Saturday, McKeown to Baileyville and Daigle to St. Stephen, New Brunswick. “We do it every year,” McKeown said.

The “Shop Small” campaign for the Saturday after Thanksgiving is promoted by the National Federation of Independent Business and features a partnership with American Express.

David Clough, the federation’s Maine director, said in a news release, “It is a day to celebrate and support the small, family-run businesses that do so much throughout the year to support our community.”

According to the organization, last year some “112 million shoppers patronized small businesses throughout the country” and those shoppers spent $15.4 billion.

Clough said that generally money spent in a small business remains within that community. “When you shop at a chain store, most of the money goes back to some corporate office somewhere, but when you shop on Main Street, that money stays on Main Street.”

In Skowhegan, over at The Bankery and Skowhegan Fleuriste, shoppers fueled up on coffee and free samples of breakfast treats early Saturday to get ready to hit the stores.

“I’m shopping for Christmas and I’m shopping locally,” said Lynda Quinn of Skowhegan, a former selectwoman and county commissioner.


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