Locals flock to support Central Florida shops on Small Business Saturday

Some local shopping centers hosted formal events to celebrate the day

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Dozens were seen strolling the streets and shopping at local stores in Downtown Winter Garden on Small Business Saturday.

Saturday is the one shopping day of the five-day holiday weekend that focuses on supporting locally owned businesses. According to the National Retail Federation, 41 percent of Americans shopping this weekend will be shopping on Small Business Saturday. That's about 67 million Americans. 

Clermont resident Christine Tharp and her husband planned on visiting three cities on Saturday. The pair rode bikes from Clermont to Winter Garden for a cup of coffee brewed at Axum Coffee, then expected to head to Mount Dora Saturday night to see the annual Christmas tree lighting. 

"I think it's important," Tharp said. "We find these are family owned."

Dennis Jones the self-proclaimed ambassador of the event in Winter Garden, is the owner of Wheel Works, a bicycle store. He spent the last few days handing out signs, bags and even doormats to the businesses in the area to encourage consumers to shop locally. 

"Without a doubt, the small communities are really what makes up the economy," Jones said. "It means a lot. Sometimes it's hard because we compete against Amazon and other big box stores."

Winter Garden had live music and raffle prizes for the event. 

For shoppers, they say of the shopping holidays, Small Business Saturday is the one day your heart is full, even though your wallet may be empty. 

"It's the best thing, it really is," Tharp added. 

You can find a list of local areas hosting Small Business Saturday promotions here.