Shoppers take advantage of the full store 10 percent off discount at the Dusty Attic in Farmington on Small Business Saturday.
Shoppers take advantage of the full store 10 percent off discount at the Dusty Attic in Farmington on Small Business Saturday. (Molly Maxwell/Special to The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — While Black Friday crowds poured into big box stores on the day after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday rallied people to buy locally.

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Last year, consumers spent $5.5 billion in the local business sector on Small Business Saturday, according to a press release from the San Juan College's Small Business Development Center.

"Shopping local just makes good business sense," said Carmen Martinez, the center's director, in a press release. "Championing small business, we hope to encourage the community to come together and support San Juan County businesses, not only this holiday season, but throughout the year."

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is another supporter of Small Business Saturday.

"Small businesses have been the economic foundation of communities across America since our nation's beginning, and they remain a driving force behind our economy," Udall said in a press release. "Today, small businesses in New Mexico are almost 96 percent of our state's employers, and employ over half of our private-sector workforce."

The weekend after Thanksgiving is among the busiest shopping times of the year, and Farmington businesses were eager to open their doors and offer special incentives to customers.

Because Art Walk isn't until later this month on Dec. 13, Artifacts Gallery, 302 E. Main St., decided to promote Small Business Saturday.

The gallery stayed open until 7 p.m. Saturday, rather than closing at 3 p.m. Various artists, such as painters Dwight Lawing and Marilyn Taylor, offered their work at reduced prices.

"I think people forget about the little guys," said Tara Churchill, whose family owns the store.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is The Dusty Attic's busiest time of year, said Ruth Edwards, who has worked at store, located at 111 W. Main St., since it first opened 19 years ago.

On Saturday, customers flowed in and out of the downtown store, sipping cider, eating cookies and taking advantage of the 10 percent discounts on all store items. Many customers were from out-of-town.

This year, like most years, Juanita Porteous drove from Fallon, Nev., to Farmington to visit her son for Thanksgiving. Along with her granddaughter, she searched through various rooms at The Dusty Attic on Saturday.

"I told my son, 'How come you didn't bring me here before?'" she said as she looked at items on the shelves.

Amanda Thomas, who lives in Rock Springs, Wyo., was visiting her mother for Thanksgiving and asked her mother, who works at The Dusty Attic, to go the store. Her mother, Dixie Steele, suggested they go Saturday while she was working. The family filled a cart full of items, including a rocking chair for one of the children.

"We hit this every time we come here," Thomas said. "We love this place"

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.