By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Holiday shopping has officially started.

Some began on Thanksgiving Day, while others kicked it off on Black Friday.

The National Retail Federation predicts 164 million people will shop nationwide over the holiday weekend with 41 percent on Small Business Saturday.

Hampden’s eclectic mix of stores encouraged people to shop small.

“Small shops and boutiques have a unique character, especially here in Hampden, there’s a quirkiness to it, they are unique and unusual,” said Janine Marie, a shopper from Lutherville.

American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010, in an effort to help the local economy during the critical shopping period during the holidays.

“If you spend $100 at a local store, $68 goes back to the local economy versus something like $20 when it’s online or big box,” said Mikey Monaghan, with Greenspring Station Marketing.

Greenspring Station in Lutherville is a collection of local businesses that also rely on the shop small movement.

“They’re meeting the owners, who are actually hand-picking the items in the store they are also supporting local artisans around town,” Monaghan said.

The movement gives consumers to invest in their communities.

“I want these shops to thrive, I want to be able to know the people in my community, who live here, this is their livelihood, they own these shops which is what makes Hampden a unique place to come and shop,” Marie said.

The holiday shopping continues after Small Business Saturday with Cyber Monday.

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