SKOWHEGAN — Local business owners said they expected a busy holiday shopping season on Saturday, a nationwide day of promoting local shopping known as Small Business Saturday.

“When people shop locally, every dollar supports the economy right here. And I think it’s a little more endearing to have something that was made right here,” said Jim Albert, an artist who sells his work at River Roads Artisans Gallery on Water Street. On Saturday, Albert was busy greeting customers and helping them check out. He said traffic in the store had been good on Saturday morning and that he was expecting sales this holiday season to be good.

Small Business Saturday, a day of promotion for mom-and-pop businesses and family- or independently run stores, draws participation by many stores around the state, including many in downtown Skowhegan whose operators said that while they were busy on Black Friday, they were hoping that success would continue through the weekend.

According to a 2011 study by the Maine Center for Economic Policy, money spent at a locally owned business puts about 75 percent more money into the area economy than money spent at chain stores.

The study found that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $58 goes back into the local economy. Only $33 stayed local when the same amount was spent at a chain store.

The local economic boost occurs partly because businesses owned by residents tend to use nearby services, including marketing and legal assistance, and they have local management, according to the study.

Albert, who said he works one or two days per month at the gallery, a cooperative operated by more than 20 local artists, sells stone works that he makes in New Vineyard. He said he enjoys talking with and meeting the people who buy his art and seeing customers return.

At Country Crow Primitives in Skowhegan, co-owner Tammy Breault said the store, which is stocked with Christmas items, has been busy since early November; and she looks forward to Skowhegan’s Holiday Stroll, set to take place next weekend. The annual parade takes place Friday night, and there will be activities at various locations around town on Saturday.

“I usually try to support small businesses for the Christmas shopping I do. I make most of my own gifts, but if there’s something that strikes my fancy, I’ll buy it,” said Barbara Jenness, 66, of Athens, who was walking into Country Crow Primitives on Saturday morning. She said she skipped Black Friday shopping all together and usually makes her own soaps, detergent, candy or cookies for gifts.

“It’s too crazy. I never do Black Friday,” she said.

Down the street at Karen’s Kloset, owner Melanie Wellman said she started marking coats and sweaters on sale for Black Friday and continued the sale Saturday. Within the first hour after opening, she said, business had been good.

“We advertise a lot in preparation for Small Business Saturday. We wanted to keep what we had going yesterday going today,” she said.

Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 [email protected]

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