WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- For the second year in a row, American Express urged shoppers to participate in Small Business Saturday and stay local when crossing off their Christmas lists.
Shoppers and business owners say it's so important to invest locally because when you do, 70 percent of the profit goes right back into the community.
Music from the strings of cigar box guitars: that’s the sound of Jake Louden's small business. He and his wife Kristy sell cigar box guitars and antique items on Etsy, an internet marketplace for all things vintage and handmade. Their shop, Paperwood Vintage, is one of thousands hoping to benefit from Small Business Saturday.
"When you're helping your local economy, honestly, you're helping yourself,” Louden said.
He and other small business owners say keeping the money in town is what it's all about.
"There's a lot of tourists that come through here too, so a lot of the sales go out of town, but the money stays here,” said Mike Connelly who owns Recollections antique shop and two other businesses across the state.
Tourists like Alexis Beshures who says she'd rather help local shops than big box stores.
"Jobs are hard to get, so you want to buy from the smaller towns rather than the big stores like Target or something because they are not having a problem with money at all,” Beshures said.
She and other Small Business Saturday shoppers say their motive is simple.
"Just so we'll have small businesses around and not closing down and just to put money into small businesses here in Wilmington,” shopper Cindy McDonald said.
Many shoppers say the customer care and quirky collectibles local stores have to offer far outweigh saving a few bucks at a chain.
Louden says small shops, whether downtown, on the outskirts or online have more competitive prices than some may think.
"You do get what you pay for,” Louden said. “If you're buying from somebody locally or something handmade, you're getting something that's better quality than something that's mass produced."
Louden and Connelly say small businesses drive our economy, and investing locally means investing in America.
"If you're buying from a chain, you're buying from China and not America,” Connelly said.
Beshures says she's proud to shop locally and considers herself somewhat of a billboard for Small Business Saturday.
"I can walk around town going, 'Yeah, I got that from there, so you need to go check it out,’” Beshures said.
While shop owners and shoppers say Small Business Saturday may not have the big hype like Black Friday yet, they hope the annual push to shop small will have a big impact on the economy.