WAXAHACHIE — Each small city or town has shops and restaurants that reflect the personality, taste, and style of its residents. These businesses help to define the character of the community.

This Saturday, residents will have the chance to show their support by shopping small by participating in Small Business Saturday.

“Small business Saturday is when everybody is encouraged to support their small, independent businesses and the mom-and-pop shops. That is all we have downtown. We don’t have any chain stores downtown. They are all independently owned local businesses,” Waxahachie Downtown Development Director Anita Brown said. “Whenever any church group, school group or anybody who needs a donation for a fundraiser they always solicit the independent businesses because they have the power to give them something and say yes or no. Unlike the big box stores that have to go through the corporate offices and all that kind of stuff.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website, there are 2.6 million small businesses in the state that employee 4.6 million people (45.9 percent) of the workforce. The state also has 1.1 million businesses that are owned by minorities. Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 by American Express.

Wayne Strickland, who is the co-owner of the College Street Pub, stated small businesses play a vital role in the local economy. The College Street Pub is a British-style pub with a Texas flair that has been a part of the downtown business district since 2003.

“The majority of the people in this country work for small businesses so small businesses are basically the backbone of the economic engine of this country. Small businesses don’t always get the breaks that some of the larger corporations get. So we kind of carry the weight of employment and taxation,” Strickland said. “Supporting local small businesses helps to keep people employed in your community. It keeps them in the community rather than having them go outside the community to try and find work.”

Strickland added that there is a lot of growth happening in downtown Waxahachie, which is helping to shape its future.

“In downtown, we have got a lot of good and energetic young business owners that are working really hard to bring people downtown. I think that it shows,” Strickland remarked. “You can come downtown, particularly on the weekends, and see that the parking is full, which means people are in stores shopping or having dinner. I think that downtown is more productive now than it has been in many years.”

Amber Caverly, Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association president and owner of the Velvet Angel boutique store, stated that small businesses help bring people together.

“Creating a small business enables you to develop a relationship with customers that are in your local area. They start out as customers but end up being friends,” Caverly explained. “I think that we are in this business to supply a need but to create a sense of community. Downtowns give people a place to have an experience. To find people that they know and people that they trust. To buy from people that support the local community."

As a part of Small Business Saturday, the communitywide garage sale known as "Junk in the Trunk" will also take place in the 100 block of S. College Street and the 100 block of E. Franklin Street.

The Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Waxahachie will give away shopping bags that will contain coupons to local stores. The bag will also include a bingo card.

If shoppers go to certain stores on the card they can enter to win prizes. Several downtown shops have special discounts planned, as well.

Downtown Waxahachie business district is located in the 100 block of Main Street.