Downtown Hammonton joined small businesses across the nation by participating in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28.

Blue and white balloons and banners with the Small Business Saturday logos fluttered outside the shops welcoming customers and encouraging them to stop in. “The town looks great,” said Elisabeth Copeland, of Lil’ Buddy’s Bath and Dog Boutique. “When I drove in a little past 10 this morning, there were already people everywhere. All of our small businesses are ecstatic.”

The nationwide campaign was started in 2010 by American Express to help drive consumer traffic to small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey conducted in 2012, an estimated 73.9 million people went out to shop small nationwide. The movement has continued to grow over the years, making the endeavor a huge success.

In an effort to get the word out about Small Business Saturday, MainStreet Hammonton launched a social media campaign leading up to the day of the event, where customers were able to access a digital image stating, “I pledge to shop small in downtown Hammonton.” Merchants along Bellevue Avenue in Hammonton also created signs reiterating the concept with, “I shopped small in downtown Hammonton” for customers to hold in a snapshot after purchasing merchandise from a small business.

“We are just trying to have some fun while encouraging the community to come out and shop small,” said Cassie Iacovelli, executive director of MainStreet Hammonton. “We all love our town and this is a day to show your support.”

Atco resident Bill Gaffney heard about the event and brought his family out to Hammonton.

“We came down today to do some shopping,” said Gaffney, “and we heard that Behind the Moon is having Santa Claus today, so we’re taking our daughter, Abbie, to see him and then we’ll grab some lunch.”

Downtown business owner Kelly Donio shared the sentiment held by many of the MainStreet Hammonton merchants. “The Toy Market appreciates our customers who shop small,” said Donio. “It makes a big difference for us, and we’re thrilled with the turn out.”

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