KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Small business owners in Knoxville are encouraging residents to shop locally.
Their effort is a way to capitalize on the success of the recent Small Business Saturday promotion.
A large "Shop Local" banner hangs in front of The Gallery in West Knoxville.
Holiday shopping is in full-swing at the Alpine Ski Center in West Knoxville, one store promoting the shop local movement.
"We're seeing a lot of customers coming in here, we'll shop with them, they'll come and shop with us, and we'll spread the wealth, so the local community gets the affect of keeping it local," said Bret Smith, Alpine Ski Center manager.
Many say the attraction of shopping locally is finding products not found in many big box stores, as well as good deals.
"This ski jacket, it's on sale. It's better than any of the online sales I've seen and it's cheaper than the box store," said Tim Burke, of Pigeon Forge.
The Gallery is among dozens of small businesses taking part in the shop local movement.
The stores are also part of "Shop Knox," a movement started by the weekly alternative newspaper Metropulse in 2010.
Bliss Home, a furniture store with two locations, is one of the businesses that has joined the "Shop Knox" movement.
Bliss Home interior designer Brett Ware says it is homegrown business that's seen dramatic growth since opening in 2003.
"I just think people really want to shop local. There are a lot of products out there. There are a lot of choices. But when it comes down to it, the local movement is what's happening around retail," Ware said.
The benefits of shopping local can be seen in other ways. It's a way to stabilize the economy. It helps keep small businesses open.
"It's nice to see the same families in here for the last 10 years, so they really help support us," Smith said. "And my employees who work through college, it helps feed everybody in the area."
Shoppers spent about $5.5 billion at local businesses during this year's Small Business Saturday, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express.