LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Saturday, small businesses across the Pine Belt celebrated the annual Small Business Saturday.
People were encouraged to shop local and support small business owners in the community.
One store owner told customers, "Thank you, y'all have a great afternoon."
Small, locally owned stores from Hattiesburg and beyond were packed with customers on Small Business Saturday.
“As a retiree from city hall in January, Linda Boutwell said. "I saw how important it was to support our local vendors.”
The streets were adorned with shoppers in downtown Laurel. Linda Boutwell said she brought her family from Memphis to shop local.
“It’s really exciting to see crowds coming in from other states and other cities, Boutwell said. "It’s good for our tax base.”
“No one understands how much work goes in to a small business, Co-Owner of Loblolly/Crescent Line Toys, Melissa Bryant said. "We take so much time, energy and effort to make everything perfect for the locals and the tourists and visitors. It means so much for everyone to come out and support us.”
“We do Small Business Saturday, it’s kind of our alternative to Black Friday, Owner of Adam Trest Home, Adam Trest said. "It’s a time for us all to shop with each other. All the little businesses in downtown Laurel are small families that are pouring their lives into these small businesses. For people to come out and shop with us means the world to us. It’s our income, it’s our livelihood.”
Small Business Saturday originally started by American Express to focus attention on the importance of locally-owned businesses.
“It’s just overall good to see Laurel thriving like it is, Boutwell added. "I hope it continues.”
The first Small Business Saturday was held back in 2010.