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Small Business Saturday today and every day

Image: Small Business Administration

If you are reading this, you have successfully survived Black Friday 2016. Congratulations!

Black Friday is the Friday directly following Thanksgiving Day and is considered to be the biggest shopping day of the year. Did you venture out to shop until you dropped when stores opened on Thanksgiving evening? Or were you like me and stayed as far away from the mall as possible?

In the 30-something years of my life I have never shopped on Black Friday. Not because I am necessarily taking a stand against it, but mostly because the thought of battling crowds of people, parking lots and cold temperatures in the middle of the night to save $10 on a TV is not a good trade-off. I like to sleep off my yearly dose of Thanksgiving turkey tryptophan in the comfort of my own home.

Don't get me wrong; I am not a Scrooge. I really enjoy giving my family and friends gifts for the holidays. But I prefer to shop on the Saturday following Black Friday, known as Small Business Saturday. That's today, folks!

Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express to promote and encourage people to shop small, local, brick and mortar stores rather than big box or e-commerce businesses. In the Twin Ports we have really cool, small, local, brick-and-mortar stores that sell unique and special gifts.

There are many locally owned one-stop shop places in town that are perfect for today's Small Business Saturday Shopping. Fitgers Complex, Dewitt Seitz and our downtown shopping district houses great independent retailers where you can find special, one of a kind gifts. If you work up an appetitive while shopping, you're in luck! All feature excellent locally owned restaurants.

Like to order online? No worries, we have some great local options for those of us that like to shop from the couch with a glass of wine.

Here are some fantastic local options:

Brick and mortar

• Frost River: Located in Lincoln Park's "Craft District," Frost River is the perfect place to shop for the outdoorsman or outdoorswoman in your life. My pick: High Falls Short-Day Pack.

• Little Neetchers: Need a baby gift? Little Neetcher's is your one stop shop for organic baby clothes and natural supplies. My pick: A Tula baby carrier.

• The Bookstore at Fitgers: Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. With a focus on Northeastern Minnesota regional books and authors, this is a great way to shop local. My pick: "Zenith," a postcard perspective of historic Duluth.

Online

DLH Clothing: Created by Duluthians Sarah and Michael Smisek, DLH apparel represents their love for Duluth without feeling touristy or gimmicky. Apparel is made in the USA and so soft! My pick: The classic Flagship Tee.

MiNNBOX: The dream of Paula Poasky and Dirk Meyer, MiNNBOX is a zero-waste subscription box filled with all Minnesota-made items. My pick: MiNNBox monthly subscription package.

I would like to encourage the community to shop locally today and throughout this holiday season. By choosing to purchase gifts at locally owned and operated retailers, we are keeping our dollars in the community and supporting our friends and neighbors. Now that's the holiday spirit.

Cara Overland

Cara Overland is the board vice president of Sustainable Twin Ports, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. She is trained in The Natural Step, a science and systems based sustainability framework.

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