By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The holiday shopping season is upon us.

Experts predict 164 million Americans will shop this Thanksgiving weekend.

Many consumers started on Black Friday, and continued Saturday for Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was started by American Express in 2010 as a way to encourage customers all over the country to shop local.

Shopping small makes a big impact on our community.

“It invests in local jobs, local businesses, as well as supporting your neighbors,” said Raina Filippelli, owner of Raina Dawn.

Small Business Saturday promotes spending locally during this critical shopping season.

“Shopping with us during the holidays, finding great gifts for your significant others or your children, this is the time we hope everyone comes out and supports us,” Filippelli said.

This annual tradition puts a spotlight on small businesses, like Filippelli’s Raina Dawn boutique, as well as Kohli Flick’s Becket Hitch gift shop.

“It’s important because your money is staying within the community,” Flick said. “If you are going to big box, a very small percentage ends up in your community, and if you are going online, almost zero percent goes back to the community.”

Encouraging Baltimorians to shop where they live.

“A way for us to give back to our customers and really say thank you for all their support and making all this possible because without them it wouldn’t be,” Flick added.

An investment that boosts our economy and brings the community together.

There are more than 500,000 small businesses that currently operate across Maryland.

The next big shopping day for retailers is Cyber Monday.

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