CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — According to the National Retail Federation, this weekend an estimated 166.3 million people were projected to take part in holiday shopping either in person or online.

Small Businesses in the Midstate are hoping to realize their share of that number thanks in part to Small Business Saturday.

“It was really a really big push that American Express started doing to make people aware that small businesses were important to the communities and that they should support them. So they created this day,” Owner of Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy Stephanie Patterson Gilbert said.

The day is meant to highlight small businesses over larger retailers.

“This gets the community into the small businesses downtown that they haven’t seen, so that we can start getting traffic and build clientele. It’s very important to all of us,” Owner of Sanctuary Boutique Judy McCarren said.

Many small businesses don’t have the marketing and advertising budgets of larger retail stores, and many owners work long hours and wear multiple hats to keep the business afloat and their employees paid. But they do it because they enjoy being a part of the community.

“It’s just another reason to remember small businesses this holiday season and year-round because you’re supporting local families when you’re doing that, we’re keeping more of the money in the local economy, you’re rewarding hard work, and your fellow community members,” Patterson Gilbert said.

Shoppers are responding to the call to action. Tami Ophelia said she’s made a holiday tradition out of shopping small.

“We try to pick a different town every year for small business Saturday,” Oplia said. “I try to get some sort of Christmas ornament every year. We’ve been doing the small towns for maybe what 10 years now. So we have what we call the ‘travel tree’ and it’s a little Christmas tree that has an ornament for all the different places we’ve been,” she added.

For small business owners, this one day set’s their business up for success for the year ahead.

“We love Small Business Saturday!” McCarren said.