INDIANAPOLIS — Black Friday is the most well-known day for Americans to start their holiday shopping, but Small Business Saturday is starting to become just as popular.
The first Saturday after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of shopping on Massachusetts Avenue, the downtown Indianapolis street lined with dozens of locally-owned stores and restaurants.
"I work for a small business and you've got to support them," said Peg Raab, who chose to do her shopping on Mass Ave for Small Business Saturday. "They keep this country going."
The nationwide event is a corporate creation by credit card company American Express, but Mass Ave business owners say Small Business Saturday is quite literally paying off.
"It just gives us a little relief that we're going to have a great holiday season," said Kristin Kohn, who has owned and operated Silver in the City on Mass Ave for more than 20 years.
"I think nowadays, more and more consumers are looking to spend their shopping dollars in a way that makes a meaningful impact and feels good to them," said Emma Hale, the manager of Global Gifts, a store down the street from Silver in the City. "It isn't going in Bezos' pockets."
Kohn believes that extra boost is essential considering the challenges local business owners faced in the past three years.
"A lot of people felt that need to support small businesses because COVID did end up taking some of those away from us," Kohn said. "Not everyone was able to make it through, and I think that helped the community understand just how important their support is."
While Small Business Saturday is far from being an official holiday, Raab said it's a reminder of how those businesses make Indiana a better place to live.
"People are very kind and welcoming in small businesses ad we appreciate that," Raab said. "It makes you feel like you're a human being."
American Express first promoted Small Business Saturday in 2010. The credit card company estimates Americans have spent more than $180 billion on Small Business Saturday since the event's inception.