CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Megan Delfine has been surprised by how many people want to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Last year was the first time that Delfine's Jewelry on Capitol Street participated in the nationwide event.
With Small Business Saturday stickers plastered on windows and Small Business Saturday doormats welcoming shoppers, downtown retailers hope Small Business Saturday not only brings shoppers through the doors Saturday, but also reminds customers of all the local downtown shops.
"People came in and said, 'I'm really trying to keep all of my Christmas shopping local this year,'" Delfine said. "I really hope to see the same effect this year."
Delfine tries to shop locally when she can because she grew up around the store in downtown Charleston, watching her parents put in the work required to run the small business.
"To celebrate small business is just amazing," she said. "Small business is just so important to our community. It feeds our community members. It supports those who support us."
Shoppers will have plenty of small businesses to choose from around the Mountain State, as they make up about 90 percent of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce membership, said president Steve Roberts.
There are about 3,500 active businesses in West Virginia. About 90 percent of those businesses have less than 100 employees. The vast majority are "micro-businesses" with less than 25 employees, Roberts said.
Born and raised in Charleston, Catherine Nutter recalls holiday shopping downtown.
"I'm old enough to remember when you had to shop downtown," said Nutter, who owns House of Luxe downtown on Quarrier Street. "I think [shopping downtown] is a mindset."
Nutter often hears complaints about parking downtown but said parking is far more accessible than it was when people shopped downtown stores before Southridge and the Charleston Town Center Mall opened.
"It's a mindset. You have to wrap your head around it," Nutter said. "There are downtowns all over the country that are thriving. It just takes time."
She hopes more people will come out for this year's Small Business Saturday and continue to shop at individual downtown stores.