Superior merchants are hoping customers will consider patronizing local retailers during Small Business on Saturday, Nov. 24.

The first Small Business Saturday, in 2010, was started by the credit card company American Express to encourage customers to shop locally.

Nikki Farmakes, director of marketing and social media at the Superior Area Chamber of Commerce, encourages residents to shop locally every day, but especially on Small Business Saturday - the day after Black Friday, the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season.

"Superior has such a vibrant and diverse small-business community and we want to put a great big spotlight on that," Farmakes said.

The Chamber and Superior Business Improvement District have partnered to promote awareness of the day. They have introduced a "passport" promotion.

"With the 'passport,' shoppers need to get a stamp or signature from four of our participating businesses and submit a completed passport for prizes donated by the small businesses," Farmakes said.

A record 38 Superior businesses are participating this year.

Empire Coffee, which has been open for six months, will take part for the first time.

"Everyone needs coffee, so we hope customers will stop here before shopping at all of the local shops," co-owner Aryana Buck said.

Empire will have deals for merchandise, coffee and sandwiches during its regular hours, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Empire plans to host a pop-up shop for photographer Joe Polecheck, whose work is displayed in the cafe. Polecheck will be selling 8-by-10-inch canvases from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Customers can prepare for the day by thinking locally. Farmakes encourages consumers to save some money they would've spent during Black Friday for Small Business Saturday instead.

Small businesses are usually the first to step up and donate certificates and prizes for local events and charities, Farmakes said.

"When you shop at a local small business, your money has a direct impact," Farmakes said. "For every $100 spent at a local business, up to $68 will stay in the community, versus $43 for a box chain."

Farmakes anticipates each business will be busy, and that consumers should plan accordingly for parking.

Parking will be easier than years before, especially with the reconstruction of Tower Avenue and Belknap Street being completed, Farmakes said.

For a full list of participating businesses, visit superiorchamber.org/small-business-saturday.

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Small Business Saturday tree lighting

Continue the Small Business Saturday celebration with Santa at the annual community holiday tree lighting from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, in Center City Park on the corner of Belknap Street and Tower Avenue. Kick off the holiday season with Superior Mayor Jim Paine and carols, treats and the lighting of the tree at 5 p.m.

Visitors can get into the giving spirit by bringing a donation of new socks and new or slightly-used winter boots for the homeless. They will be collected on-site as part of a community sock and boot drive. Every donation gets entered in a drawing to light the tree with the mayor.