HUNTINGTON — Despite the rainy and chilly conditions, many families and individuals were spotted shopping and eating at downtown Huntington small businesses on Saturday.

“I love shopping on Small Business Saturday, so the rain isn’t a factor for me,” said Amy Pinson, of Huntington. “They have some really great deals, and it feels good to support my locally owned and operated small businesses.”

Pinson said she started at Heritage Station in the 200 block of 11th Street before hitting several other shops on 3rd Avenue.

“I plan on hitting 4th Avenue and then maybe heading over to Ashland to shop in their downtown district,” she said.

The Red Caboose at Heritage Station kicked off its holiday shopping season with its Small Business Saturday Artisan Market.

“Small Business Saturday is a great way for our Tri-State community to discover and support our local artisans,” said Raine Klover, manager of The Red Caboose. “We’re excited to showcase our popup artists who are all creating right here in Huntington.”

The Red Caboose is one of Huntington’s premier artisan centers and gift shops that specialize in locally made artisan goods. At the event, shoppers were able to meet local artisans, enter to win handcrafted prizes, and shop for local-interest books, specialty food items, home goods and one-of-a-kind works of art.

“We have had lots of people coming in, and it’s been a great morning so far,” Klover said. “Buying from a local artist is an amazing thing for both the customer and for the artist.”

Small Business Saturday began 10 years ago to help the American consumer “connect the dots” between their purchases and the well-being of their community. It was created to raise awareness of the importance of small businesses, and the event falls on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving each year.

According to the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC), small businesses contribute to the economic vitality of their local communities.

In West Virginia, 98% of the businesses in the state are considered small. Their small-business enterprises employ 49.2% of the private workforce in the state, according to the WVSBDC.

The organization estimates that out of $100, roughly $68 remains local when spent with a small local business, compared to only $48 when spent with a national chain.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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