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FARMINGTON — Many small businesses are offering specials and extending their hours to encourage customers to shop locally on Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, which comes right after the Black Friday shopping rush, was started in 2010 by American Express, said Michael Bulloch, coordinator of the Farmington Downtown Association.

Stores and organizations sign up on the American Express website to participate in the program, which also allows them to receive promotional materials encouraging shoppers to "Shop Small."

"You can either sign up as a business owner or as a 'community champion,' and they send you hand-outs and other items, such as canvas bags, to distribute to support shopping local," Bullock said.

Most downtown Farmington stores and restaurants are planning to be open both Friday and Saturday. Many are also participating in the holiday art walk, which has paired up with Small Business Saturday to encourage the "Shop Small" campaign. Those stores will be open until 9 p.m. Saturday, and many are offering specials on both Friday and Saturday.

One such business, Faith Photography at 110 W. Main St., will offer a special promotion on Small Business Saturday.

"We don’t normally take walk-ins for our photo sessions, but all day Saturday we will be taking walk-ins and offering Christmas-themed photo sessions geared toward families," said owner Bree Gonzales.

She added that she was happy to participate in Small Business Saturday the first year her business has been open.

"I think it’s really good for local businesses as it gets people downtown," she said. "I hear a lot from clients that they don’t know we’re down here because they don’t travel to downtown."

The state of New Mexico designated Nov. 26 as Small Business Saturday after a proclamation by Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, according to a press release from the National Federation of Independent Business.

"The state’s involvement helps amplify the importance of spending some of your holiday dollars with the mom-and-pop enterprises that gave most of us our first jobs and employ many of our neighbors," said Minda McGonagle, the organization's New Mexico director, in the release.

Last year, 95 million Americans reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, and they spent more than $16 billion, which was an increase of 14 percent from the previous year, the release states.

Audra Winters, president of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said residents should always keep in mind the importance of supporting local businesses.

"To me, it should be constantly on people’s minds, not just this Saturday," she said. "We should always shop local because small business is the heart of the community. It’s important every single day."

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621. 

More info

For a list of downtown stores participating in Saturday’s holiday art walk and the "Shop Small" campaign, visit the holiday art walk Facebook page. Postcards can also be found at most downtown stores.

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