Black Friday is good if you’re looking for deals on air fryers or TVs, but if you’re looking for the holiday spirit, go out on Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s a day to support the local retailers and restaurants that support their communities throughout the year. It’s also a day to find unique gifts and enjoy a level of service you won’t find at the mall or chain stores.

Small Business Day feels like it’s been around forever, but it’s been around only as long as the iPad. It was created by American Express in 2010 to help small businesses recover from the Great Recession. Since then, though, it’s since taken on a life of its own.

Last year, people spent a record $23.3 billion at independent shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey by American Express and my group, the National Federation of Independent Business. That was up 18 percent from the $19.8 billion people spent the year before and a nice increase from the $19.6 billion spent in 2019, the last retail season before the pandemic.

That growth is encouraging. Small businesses are facing many of the same challenges as well-funded national chains. They got through the worst of the pandemic only to contend with labor and supply chain issues and the highest rate of inflation we’ve seen since the early ‘80s.

These trends are driving up costs across the board. That means families are really having to stretch a dollar, and that, in turn, is ratcheting up the financial pressure on Main Street businesses.

That’s bad because Texas’s economy is built on small businesses. The national chains might get most of the attention, but according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Small Business Administration, a whopping 99.8 percent of businesses in the state are small businesses.

Without our support, some of these businesses might not make it, and we can’t afford to lose any of them.

The thing to remember is that we shop small and shop local, we’re supporting our friends and neighbors. We’re supporting the businesses that support our schools and civic organizations and hold our communities together.

Shopping small also makes our communities strong. Another American Express and NFIB survey found that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stay in the community. What’s more, every dollar spent at a small business creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as employers and their employees shop at other local businesses.

The bottom line is that small businesses make our communities strong. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to shop small on Saturday, Nov. 26. When we help small businesses, we help everyone.

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— Annie Spilman is the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.