MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The holiday shopping deals continued today with Small Business Saturday. Locally-owned mom and pop stores traditionally offer deals the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The idea is to shine a light on small business during a season when retail giants are doing their best to attract customers.

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Shoppers are expected to spend more than ever before — an average of $967 each, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s up 3 percent from last year.

The idea today with Small Business Saturday is really to give customers an experience that is more personal than they might get at a retail giant or corporate chain.

“For us it was just let’s just do this and see if it works,” Michele Henry said.

It was a gamble that paid off for Primp Boutique owners Henry and Wesley Uthus.

“We know some of our first shoppers by name,” Henry said.

The two stylish friends started the boutique seven years ago. Since then, they’ve grown into nine locations across the Twin Cities.

“We started Primp because we saw that there was this need that we couldn’t afford to shop at the boutiques we loved, but we wanted that boutique experience,” Uthus said.

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They say one of the biggest advantages to their small business is they treat their shoppers more like family.

“It’s all in the experience. I think a lot of the big retailers, it’s very transactional, which is you go in there and that’s what you expect as a customer. You’re not there to be pampered, you’re not going to Target to be followed around by an associate but at Primp we provide beverages and treats,” Uthus said.

A personal touch they hope will keep shoppers visiting brick and mortar shops. Early analytics show online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday are up 18 percent compared to a year ago, a reason Small Business Saturday is a crucial time to build business.

Open just three months along Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Nicole Drallette’s shop, Lovegood & Co., is a family endeavor.

“We have a mix of old and new, a lot of it’s vintage,” Drallette said.

On this Small Business Saturday, Drallette is hoping to make lasting connections with customers — the key to success in any store big or small.

“Everybody is saying you’re doing a great job and we will pay it forward that way, too and that support gives you the confidence to keep wanting to go on when it gets scary,” Drallette said.

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A small business is one that has fewer than 500 employees. About half of the jobs in the U.S. are in small businesses, according to Small Business Administration.