NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – With Black Friday behind us, the focus on holiday shopping shifts to Small Business Saturday, when people are encouraged to shop small and to shop local.

American Express said shoppers spent more than 23 billion dollars during Small Business Saturday last year, and more than 19 billion in 2020.

Aaron Barkin said he’s getting married in may and wants to buy his suits from a local business.   

“The lifeblood of small economy is local business and making sure that we support that is incredibly important,” said Barkin.

That support is vital to vendors like Tom Maloney, owner of Raggs in New Haven, which is celebrating its 38th anniversary Friday.

“In our business, it’s who walks in, not how many. So, one customer can really make your day here.”

Maloney said there is more than the hype of the holiday.

“Your business isn’t made by the day or even the weekend. It’s the season,” said Maloney. 

City leaders said the economic impact could really help struggling business owners. 

“This year we know that small businesses need our support now more than ever as they navigate, retool, and pivot from the effects of the coronavirus,” said Cathy Graves, Deputy Director of Economic Development in New Haven.