The first Small Business Saturday was one to remember for Kelly McKay-Dolfi after she took over Whimsy in downtown Palmer.

She said the small store was quickly overwhelmed with customers.

“It really really seemed very cramped and very full. You couldn’t get from one side of the store to the next,” she said.

Whimsy has since expanded to the space next door with a full section of Christmas decor. McKay-Dolfi said she’s seen local support grow too, especially during the holidays.

Whimsy is giving out discounts to draw people in the day after Black Friday.

“You’re competing with big box stores. None of us businesses on the streets have the buying power, so therefore we don’t have the price markups and the profit margins in the items we have,” she said

It’s not just downtown businesses that are cashing in on the shopping day.

On the Palmer-Wasilla Highway, Homespun Alley will celebrate its first holiday season. The store is a co-op of about ten different vendors. Owner Karen Blomquist said she’s seen support from people in Palmer since the business opened earlier this year.

“The community is very close-knit and it’s almost like a family. They each help each other out; they don’t really want the big box stores and so they support the little ones,” Blomquist said.

Each vendor at Homespun Alley will be giving away different prizes and discounts on Saturday.

The co-op is one of over 20 businesses participating in Shop Palmer. It’s the second year for the Chamber of Commerce promotion that gives an incentive to spend money locally throughout December.

Customers get a stamp for every $10 they spend. When they fill up a card with 10 punches, it goes into a drawing.

“We’re going to do two drawings this year because we have so many participants. We’re going to do a $500 drawing on Dec. 11 and then a $1,000 on Dec. 20,” said executive director Ailis Vann.

Last year shoppers turned in more than 2,400 completed cards. That’s a direct economic impact of about $240,000.

“It still gives me goose bumps. I have goose bumps right now talking about the impact that it has for our local businesses. It’s so cool,” Vann said.

Store owners hope to see customers turn out in full force to show their love for shopping small.

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