COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A program meant to encourage shoppers to patronize local businesses is officially underway, particularly in downtown Colorado Springs.

Small Business Saturday is an annual event meant to persuade customers looking to buy gifts to do so from locally-owned businesses.

Small Business Saturday encourages doing your holiday shopping at local businesses. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

“It’s a small business family, even in Colorado Springs,” said Natilia Sibert, owner and founder of Natilia Fitness. “A lot of us know each other, we support one another, and so it’s important that we keep that money and family spirit in Colorado Springs.”

According to statistics from the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, when you spend $100 locally, 70% of that stays in the community. But, when you spend $100 at a chain, 60$ of that leaves the community. Meaning, when people shop local, they are inadvertently giving back to their community.

“Small Business Saturday is our favorite day of the year and we’re just happy to see all our loyal customers out today,” said Leah Riehl, co-owner of Terra Verde Boutique.

Many of the businesses that are participating are located in the heart of downtown, but several of them are also online shops.

“It’s such a great way to get people to know the new shops and the shops that maybe they just haven’t been to yet,” Riehl explained.

Shoppers also weighed in, saying they appreciated the program that supports their community.

Local shoppers, Abbioyn and Dana Moyer, look for souvenirs from MY Colorado Store. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

“I love shopping locally,” said shopper, Morgan Dawson. “I love supporting local businesses. It’s just giving money to families that I know directly rather than big companies.”

Sibert told FOX21 News she was excited to get the word out about small businesses. After working in a corporate job for a long time, she decided she to pursue her passion. Now, Sibert hopes by bringing attention to small businesses, people who are thinking about starting a business of their own will be encouraged to do it.

Business owners said they love being small so they can have more of a relationship with their customers. Credit: Brandon Sefrood

“There are a handful of people that really love what they do,” Sibert said. “They wake up in the morning and they love their job. They love their career. And I wanted to be one of those people so I would encourage people to follow their dreams. Dreams are able to come true.”

Some businesses and shops will continue to have specials and deals all weekend long.

A complete list of downtown’s small businesses that were featured this year can be found here.