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Black Friday is over, and it’s time for holiday shoppers to flock to small businesses in their communities.

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Saturday Marks Small Business Saturday – Created in 2010 by American Express to shift consumers’ attention to the stores that call their communities home. Shoppers are encouraged to make small purchases and shop locally.

and according to US Small Business Administration (SBA)Well, that’s exactly what he did last year.

“Last year, shoppers came together in full force to support their local communities, and the small business hit a record high on Saturday with an estimated $19.8 billion in estimated spending,” the SBA said in a news release. ” “This year, holiday consumer spending is forecast to break new records.”

A ‘Small Business Saturday’ sign is displayed outside a Fish Eddy store on November 28, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Alexei Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Small businesses have faced great uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many had to redesign their business model when gathering indoors became unsafe.

The SBA said 6 million small businesses have relied on federal aid to stay afloat during the pandemic. According to the Federal Reserve, 200,000 of them ceased operations in the first year of the pandemic.

The SBA provided $44.8 billion to small businesses in fiscal year 2021 through more than 61,000 loans.

But it’s not all bad news. Many millions of businesses got their start amid the pandemic.

related: Business Startups Have Record Year, Census Bureau Will Officially Start Counting

According to small business committee, Americans filed paperwork to start 4.3 million new businesses in 2020 – a 24% increase from 2019 and the highest number in the past 15 years. Representative Nidia Velázquez, who chairs the committee, said young entrepreneurs face a difficult job market by focusing on entrepreneurship to develop businesses and products to serve their communities.

“COVID closed countless small businesses and left many others on the brink of disaster,” said Velázquez, a Democrat representing New York’s seventh congressional district. “Yet, at the same time, it is possible that the pandemic may trigger a revitalization of American entrepreneurship.”

Almost every community has small businesses serving local customers. Think family restaurants that have been open for decades, bookstores with vintage looks or local gyms that aren’t as crowded as the big chains.

Still in need of vacation photos of your loved ones, there is no shortage of local photographers willing to capture you on film. A local jeweler may have better discounts than national stores. And just like with Valentine’s Day, a gift card to a florist shop will come in handy before you know it.

This story was reported from Atlanta.