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Well, it's here. Thanksgiving was Thursday and yesterday was "Black Friday," a day that some dread and others welcome with anticipation.

We know some of our readers were out shopping on Friday and took full advantage of the bargains available in Texarkana stores. Others stayed far away from the traffic and crowds.

Either way is fine. Maybe you finished up your Christmas shopping Friday. But if not there is still plenty of time to get just the right gift for that special someone or for family and friends.

Plenty of opportunity, too. Right here in the Twin Cities.

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year, today is significant for consumers and retailers, too, though not quite as familiar to most as the other two.

It's Small Business Saturday, a day set aside to support small, local businesses and the important role they play in the community.

Launched by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday has grown into a big opportunity for retailers. In 2012, Small Business Saturday spending was about $5.5 billion. In 2018, consumers spent more than $17.8 billion on that one day.

This year? Who knows?

The Christmas shopping season is important to all businesses. Just a few weeks can mean the difference between profit and loss. That's especially true for small, local retailers. They have to compete with large chain stores, which can often offer lower prices and special discounts through their ability to buy in great volume. Over the past several years, small businesses have also had to compete with online merchants who don't have to worry about many of the costs associated with brick-and-mortar locations.

But local small businesses do more than sell goods and services. They provide jobs for your friends and family. They support local youth sports, churches and charities and other community activities. And they put local dollars back into the local economy. The profits stay here in Texarkana and aren't sent off to some corporate headquarters far away.

We know the lure of big city shopping can be very tempting. And we understand that most are feeling the pinch in their pocketbooks. Yes, there might be a bit of an ego boost associated with big city shopping and you might save a bit of time and money shopping online. But when you spend your dollars here at home, with local small merchants, it benefits our city in all sorts of ways that go beyond dollars and cents. You are helping make our Twin Cities one big community. That's doesn't happen when you type your credit card number into a web form at some online site or drive to Dallas or Houston to do it up big time at a swanky shop.

Small Business Saturday is just the beginning. Shop small local businesses today and throughout the Christmas season, and you will help ensure everyone here at home enjoys happier holidays.

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