NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – With the Black Friday shopping rush is behind us, the focus on holiday spending shifts to Small Business Saturday. 

Downtown New Haven was full of shoppers with bags in hand Saturday evening. News 8 spoke to shoppers who were shopping small. 

“You just can’t beat coming downtown and walking around and browsing through the stores. Sure, you can scroll through the stores, but I certainly like walking the streets and checking out what all the shops have to offer,” said Ann Lumpinski from Milford. 

“We’ve in lived in New Haven for a really long time so we always go shopping on Chapel Street. We knew today was Small Business Saturday, so it was important for us to come out and support our local shops,” said Janina Gilo-Tomkins who was shopping with her daughter Nora. 

Small Business Saturday was created to promote small, local businesses and give them a sales boost during the holiday season. American Express reports shoppers spent more than $23 billion during Small Business Saturday last year and more than $19 billion in 2020. 

Four new women/minority owned shops opened in the Elm City this year. 

Soap-edi opened on Chapel Street in October. Lucy Ballester, the owner, says the idea for her health and beauty store came from her mother. 

“This was my mother’s hobby. She’s Haitian so she knew all about plants and herbs and all the benefits that they have so we decided to tell her, this shouldn’t be a hobby, this should be something you can help other people with,” she said. “The people of New Haven have really taken a liking to us, and they love our products.”

On Audubon Street, shoppers can browse one-of-a-kind pieces at MINIPNG

Eiress Hammond has been designing clothes since 2019. She opened a storefront this September and says the support has been outstanding. 

“I got 100 RSVPs for the Black Friday sale, and it was insane. There were lines out the door,” she said. “When you pick out a handmade piece, you’re like ‘oh I am the only one in the world with this piece’ and people love the uniqueness to that and it creates a really cool community.”