PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The past few years, the day after Black Friday has been used to celebrate and promote small local businesses. Shoppers in Portland came out in droves for Small Business Saturday.

Amid a public health and economic crisis, local vendors in Portland welcomed a boost in customers as the holiday season kicked into high gear.

The streets of downtown Portland were alive with the sound of music, bustling shoppers and local vendors looking to see gifts and goods this Small Business Saturday.

At the Saturday Market off Southwest Naito Parkway, small business owners set up shop, offered treats, trinkets, local art and jewelry, all with a uniquely Portland flair.

Deborah Kirkendall, who owns Tiny Owl Jewelry, said this shopping holiday is crucial to keeping small shops like hers in Portland.

“This is what really supports our community. It helps with employment, it helps keep the money in the community,”Kirkendall told KOIN 6 News. “So it’s going to the people that actually support where they live, both as a maker and as a customer.”

Buying a handmade product, she said, “is so much more special than buying from a ‘big box’ that is made by a machine and the person doing it might not even like what they’re doing. So there’s a lot of passion that goes into what we do.”

One of the vendors at Saturday Market in Portland, November 26, 2022 (KOIN)
One of the vendors at Saturday Market in Portland, November 26, 2022 (KOIN)

And a little local spending can go a long way.

The US Small Business Association said Small Business Saturday brought in an estimated $23 billion nationwide one year ago. Those dollars boost local economies and revitalize communities.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted, “Small businesses are the heart of Portland. Get out and support our local economy by buying your holiday gifts at a local shop this #SmallBusinessSaturday.”

Shoppers who spoke with KOIN 6 News, including Paul Packard, said their dollars helping to boost the local economy is the main reason they are shopping small this holiday season.

“The money stays in the community,” Packard said. “It circulates in the community and makes the community stronger.”

David Hough, who owns Roads End Pottery, is a long-time vendor at Saturday Market in Portland, November 26, 2022 (KOIN)
David Hough, who owns Roads End Pottery, is a long-time vendor at Saturday Market in Portland, November 26, 2022 (KOIN)

David Hough, who owns Roads End Pottery, said he’s been coming to the Saturday Market since 1979. This Small Business Saturday, he said, was not only a success but gave him hope for the revitalization of the Rose City.

“It was fantastic! I think the locals are turning out,” Hough said. “You just never know what’s going to happen but I had the best day of the year, and that could be because people are trying to support us, you know.”

Hough, who said he tries to put his name on each piece he makes, said this is what Saturday Market is all about.

“Handmade, direct sales, buying directly from the person who made it. I mean, that doesn’t happen in the world very much anymore,” he said.

Shop Small PDX

So when you are doing some holiday shopping, think small — small, local businesses.