On Friday, Kristen Kopp and her mother both woke up early, met and prepared for their first day of holiday shopping.
The two women didn't bother poring over advertisements, comparing prices or waiting in a long line outside a major retailer -- all trademarks of the typical Black Friday bargain hunter.
Rather, mother and daughter headed to North Main Street in Shrewsbury to check out that area's string of independent antique shops.
"We call it Antique Friday," said Kopp, of York Township. "We don't want to deal with the crowds, the lines or the traffic. Plus, it's really important to keep the money in the local community and support your neighbors."
Today , shoppers from across the area are expected to visit local independent retailers in support of Small Business Saturday.
Launched in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday helps local shops gain more exposure during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the holiday season.
To entice shoppers, American Express offers members the chance to a earn $25 credit on their statements when they use their credit card to make a $25 purchase at participating small businesses, said Bill Brunelle, project manager for Independent We Stand.
Based in Virginia, Independent We Stand is an awareness campaign that aims to educate consumers about the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses.
Larry Zimmerman credits the support offered by American Express as one reason why his business, The Shops at 16 N. Main in Shrewsbury, has improved in recent years.
"Many of the people who come in on Small Business Saturday say, 'We are here to support small business,'" he said. "We never heard that before."
For Serendipity Antiques in Shrewsbury, Saturday is all about awareness -- a chance for shoppers to see that small businesses do exist, Debbie Lynch said.
In the 13 years since Lynch opened her
"Some baby boomers have started to downsize and move into small homes," she said. "They're getting rid of the stuff they collected. We're now hoping that the next generation develops an interest in antiques and collectibles."
Rather than pack her shelves with glassware that tends to take longer to sell, Lynch said she's invested in more popular items such as costume jewelry and vintage hats and clothing.
"We've had people come in here and look for things they know they can use like furniture and cooking utensils," she said. "They know they older stuff was made better than what is being sold now."
"You have to go to antique shop to find stuff like that," she said. "It's like a treasure hunt."
Becky Monahan spent Friday morning perusing the display cases and shelves of Serendipity Antiques on the lookout for a gift for her son.
"I'm not going to the mall," she said. "He can buy his own shirts and pants. I'm looking to buy him something different."Also of interest