Customers shop at For Keeps Saturday morning in downtown Bowling Green. Visit to watch a video.

J.D. Pooley | Sentinel-Tribune

Shoppers cashed in on deals in downtown Bowling Green, taking advantage of Small Business Saturday deals, while also purposefully keeping their dollars local.

“This is a really exciting day for small businesses,” said Kati Thompson, owner of Eden Boutique on South Main Street.

VIDEO: Shop Small Saturday a hit with BG retailers

The store, which was buzzing with customers and sales on Saturday, sells new, contemporary women’s fashions and offers a resale area. All of the store’s accessories and household items are made by local artists.

“We like to say that you’re supporting layers of local when you’re shopping at Eden,” Thompson said.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Express launched the shopping holiday, Small Business Saturday, in 2010 at the height of the Great Recession, as a way of redirecting holiday shopping to local stores. A decade later, it’s observed in all 50 states, and in 2011, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing Small Business Saturday.

For every dollar spent at a small business, American Express estimates an average of $0.68 stays in that business’s local community.

Small Business Saturday is not the only day for deals this holiday season, Thompson said.

“You can likely find everything that you need right here in your local community,” she said. “Keep those dollars local. We’re employing local people. A lot of these businesses down here then support local sports teams. … It cycles that investment back into the community.”

Melissa Bell was shopping at For Keeps on South Main Street, and is a regular Small Business Saturday consumer.

“This is more community. This is the people that you live with. It’s just different than the big box stores,” she said. “I just love to support the local businesses. I do it every year.”

This is the 66th holiday season for Floyd Craft, who owns Ben’s on South Main Street and started in the retail business in 1956 at W.T. Grant in Toledo.

“You could buy a pair of jeans for $1.99. You could buy a men’s shirt for $1.99,” Craft said. “I remember gas was between 19 cents and a quarter.”

Some of the trends back then were Daniel Boone hats and hula-hoops, he said.

Toys and candy never go out of style, Craft said.

Small Business Saturday is situated between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which all kick off the holiday shopping season.

Shoppers spent a record $9.12 billion online on Black Friday, up 2.3% from last year, according to Adobe Analytics, as reported by the Associated Press. E-commerce activity continued to be strong over the weekend, with $9.55 billion in online sales.

Adobe Analytics tracks transactions at over 85 of the top 100 U.S. online stores.

Salesforce, which also tracks spending, said their estimates showed online sales in the U.S. hit $15 billion on Friday and $17.2 billion over the weekend, with an average discount rate of 30% on products. Electronics, active wear, toys and health and beauty items were among those that provided a big boost, the two groups said.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending across all types of payments including cash and credit card, said that overall sales on Black Friday rose 12% from the year-ago. Sales at physical stores rose 12%, while online sales were up 14%.

RetailNext, which captures sales and traffic via sensors, reported that store traffic rose 7% on Black Friday, while sales at physical stores improved 0.1% from a year ago.

(Sentinel-Tribune multi-media journalist J.D. Pooley did the local interviews for this story.)