CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Small local business owners are gearing up for one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Small Business Saturday was established by American Express as an answer to the traditional Black Friday that caters to more big box stores.

But in a year saddled by the pandemic and a dragging economy, these businesses are preparing to make some slight adjustments.

Patrick Holland, Co-Owner of Learning Express Toys, says that many local businesses are offering enhanced online shopping, delivery, and curbside pickup options as a solution to this year’s unique challenges.

“We also, and a lot of small businesses have really upped their game in terms of their online presence. And so we have a new website and you can order online and pick up at the store, either pick up in store or do curbside pickup as well. So that way for those who might not be comfortable or might be really busy and can’t be everywhere at the same time, they can order, shop online,” says Patrick Holland.

Many local small businesses like North Shores’ Blue Skies gift shop are having to get creative this Small Business Saturday due to the limitations of the pandemic.

But in a year of economic hardship, store manager Kim Meyer says that supporting these small businesses is essential to the community.

“This year you’ve got to come out and support us because without us, this neighborhood would not be what it is. All of these businesses create the North Shore and if you don’t come out to support the North Shore or your other small local businesses, they’re not going to be here to make the neighborhood what they are,” says Kim Meyer.

Meyer says she’s planning on extending the event for two weeks to allow for a safer shopping environment.