By Bay Stephens EBS Editorial Assistant

After the mania of Black Friday is over, American Express encourages shoppers to buy locally on Nov. 25 as part of their nationwide event, Small Business Saturday. Both Bozeman and Big Sky businesses are participating by offering promotions and special discounts.

Big Sky shoppers will meet between 9 and 10 a.m. at the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce where the day gets rolling with a chance to win one of four $50 gift cards. After coffee and treats, shoppers can follow a Shop Small Specials guide courtesy of the chamber.

In Bozeman, downtown parking fees will be suspended on Saturday to make it more convenient for shoppers to support local businesses.

American Express founded Small Business Saturday to encourage shoppers to support local businesses in their area. According to statistics on the Downtown Bozeman website, for every $100 spent at a local business, approximately $68 stays in the local economy, as opposed to $43 if the money is spent at a big brand business. The organization also promotes shopping locally because it fosters charitable giving in the community, and supports the employment opportunities that small businesses provide.

Small businesses far exceed big businesses when it comes to charitable donations to nonprofits and community causes, giving 250 percent more, according to the DBA website. It also states that roughly 40 percent of all retail jobs in the United States exist thanks to small businesses and small franchise businesses employing approximately eight million people across the country.

“Small Business Saturday celebrates the essence of the Big Sky business community,” wrote Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Membership Director Margo Magnant in a Nov. 7 email. “We are largely a collection of independent businesses choosing to work and live in this beautiful, unique setting. For the chamber, this event is a chance to bring our local residents and visitors alike together to kick off the holiday shopping season right here in our community.”

Last year, 32 Big Sky businesses, ranging from boutiques to breweries, participated in the event.

“Small Business Saturday has been a great kick-off to the holiday shopping season for Ari O Jewelry,” said Ari O Jewelry owner Ariane Coleman. Her workshop is connected to her gallery, allowing customers to observe the jewelry-making process, as well as learn the story behind any piece of jewelry they are drawn to.

To find Christmas deals while supporting the local economy, look no further than the surrounding community on Saturday, Nov. 25.

For more information or to become a participating business email info@bigskychamber.com or call (406) 995-3000.