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EMERY P. DALESIO Associated Press RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A Forsyth County goat dairy, a Winston-Salem book publisher and a Charlotte lawn sign company are among the North Carolina companies holding special events or offering unexpected discounts to draw shoppers on Small Business Saturday. American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business are behind the push to encourage people to buy from independent retailers and other small businesses during the big shopping weekend. Thanksgiving weekend is important because it kicks off the shopping season for Christmas, even more so during this year's shorter lead-up to the holiday, said The National Retail Federation says about 140 million Americans are expected to hit stores this weekend ahead of Cyber Monday, when Internet retailers have special offers to lure spending online. (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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