Black Friday is the day when major stores open early for Christmas shopping, but the next day is Small Business Saturday, when local businesses get to shine.

Margo Magnant is membership director for the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, and has close ties with the many small businesses that will be pulling out all the stops for Small Business Saturday.

“Small Business Saturday is a local response to the Black Friday movement, “said Magnant. “When stores are opened all night with people waiting in line even on the holidays themselves. Small Business Saturday is a way to encourage people to get back to Main Street and remember those local businesses that give so much back to our communities.”

Magnant said shopping local adds the person to person contact that has been lost to online shopping.

“It goes back to that human to human connection,” she said. “Sure, you can buy anything online but you’re missing out on that connection, like the opportunity to try things on, actually pick things up and hold them, in your hands to have more of that emotional connection. You’re also getting the opportunity to perhaps visit with the people who actually make the products and see their shops and restaurants that are the results of their hopes and dreams and a lot of hard work. You can connect with them on a deeper level.”

Magnant said the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research reports that $1.8 billion was spent by nonresident visitors to the state in 2017 and for Missoula County that amounts to about $297 million, of which, about 22 percent is for bars and restaurants, and 12 percent of that total goes to local businesses for a total of nearly $771.8 million of total economic activity.

Small Business Saturday is November 24.