Shoppers turn out for Small Business Saturday in Philadelphia

The holiday shopping season is officially underway around the country and here, in the Delaware Valley. And the focus on Saturday, November 25 was to spend money at locally owned shops. Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is another unofficial holiday called Small Business Saturday.

"Especially in Philadelphia, a great place to have local shops and support local artisans as well as local businesses," said shopper Hillary Rothberg.

It's a time when local storefronts hope to get their first boost in sales of the holiday season. Melanie Fagan, of Queen Village, says shopping local is a win for everyone.

"This is not the standard you'd find in a big department store. These are really beautiful items handmade or special. Really a treasure to have a store like this available to people in the neighborhood," said Fagan.

Boutique gift shop Scarlett Alley at 3rd and Race Streets has been a staple on the block for 25 years. Everyday people browse and buy, but around the holidays, all locally owned stores rely on the heftier sales.

"If we want them to be there for us, we better use them," said shopper Lauren Scott.

United by Blue, owned by two Temple University graduates, opened a brand new flagship store at 2nd and Race Streets one week ago.

General manager Jami Narzarski says everything in the store is 25 percent off - a sweet discount that attracted nice business all weekend.

"We kicked off our sale, our cafe was packed all day. We had tons of shoppers. People shopping for loved ones. It's exciting," Narzarski said.

People like Mital Gandhi say shopping local is exciting for the customer, too.

"You get a lot of personalized attention. You also feel like you're not another person shopping. They go out of their way to find you things you enjoy wearing or that fit well," Gandhi said.

Another unique advantage to Philadelphia, not just Saturday, November 25, but every Saturday after 11 a.m. through the end of the year, street parking is free. That is a nice stress reliever during the holiday shopping season.