PORTLAND -- A national effort is under way to encourage holiday shoppers to shop at small local businesses Saturday.
Stores in the Portland area prepared ahead of time to give big businesses a run for their money on "Small Business Saturday." This is the second year for the effort. The hope is to send more foot traffic to the local "mom and pop" stores.
National spots from Al Roker and other celebrities promoted the plan.
Portland Saturday Market and its new annex "pop-up" shop at the downtown Galleria participated; that includes more then 300 small business owners. And as it is for the big box retailers, holiday shopping revenue is extremely important.
"Each one of them is a small business," said Rick Curtis, manager of the Portland Saturday Market Annex. "Almost none of them have any employees; most of them have children. So it's really something for them to get behind."
"I hope the message has gotten out there and people take it to heart how important it is to support people trying to make it on their own, "said Mona Harris, owner of Kitten Camaro. Harris makes vinyl wallets for Saturday Market.
A group of more than ninety shops, calling themselves "Little Boxes," are also helping to spread the word. They held a raffle on Black Friday. No purchase was required and prizes included an iPad 2, theater tickets and gift cards.
There is also a rewards-based card called "Supportland," which is tied to 96 small local businesses. Local shoppers with the card build up points for gifts.