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Big returns from Small Business Saturday?

Consumers spent around $5.7 billion at independent stores last year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Friday might have been all about scoring big deals at big-name stores, but Saturday is all about shopping small.

It's Small Business Saturday, which was founded in 2010 by American Express to help businesses attract more customers.

Small business owners at the Avenues Mall said when you're competing with big-name stores, sometimes small businesses get overlooked, which is why Saturday is so important.

It makes people more aware of the small businesses in their area and gives the businesses a chance to connect with more customers.

Toni McCormack just opened her boutique Apricot Lane three months ago, so this will be her first Small Business Saturday as a small business owner.

"I think it just makes people be more conscious of making a point to shop small businesses rather than the big chain stores or the big department stores," McCormack said.

Last year, consumers spent around $5.7 billion at independent merchants around the country on Small Business Saturday.

It's even more vital because November and December account for 40 percent of annual revenue for U.S. retailers.

For McCormack it's a chance to show off what makes her small business so special.

"I think you have a more personal touch when it's a smaller business because when we have regular customers, we kind of know them by name now," McCormack said. "I just think it's a cozier feel maybe."

Martin Buckley is co-owner of Palm Beach Autograph, founded in Jacksonville nine years ago. In that time, he's seen Small Business Saturday grow.

"Tomorrow will be busier for us than a normal Saturday," Buckley said. "I think the small business thing is just starting to gain traction. I'm pushing it hard though. We're pushing it on social media."

Buckley is posting the items that will be on sale Saturday, hoping to bring out loyal customers and new ones as well.

"It's really important to remember that small businesses do exist, and we rely really solely on this Jacksonville community and those people coming out and supporting us," Buckley said.

Every store participating in Small Business Saturday has some kind of discount.

For a full list of all the participating stores, go to shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com/ShopSmall. If you don't have an American Express card, you can still click "Continue" to view a map and search local small businesses by type.