$42.6 billion: Revenue produced if half of employed Americans spent $50 a month at a locally owned small businesses
$68: Amount per $100 spent at locally owned small businesses that comes back to the community via taxes, payroll and various expenses
$43: Amount per $100 spent at national chain stores that comes back to the community
Because you can't buy Oreo gingerbread-flavored popcorn at the supermarket.
Or a 1980s-era encyclopedia of the Republic of Colombia with a little stain on the cover.
Two shoes made by the same hands at the same time are nice. So is handmade jewelry.
It's all around, here and there at Chattanooga's small businesses.
Or it was before the Small Business Saturday shoppers got to it.
This was the third annual Small Business Saturday, started by American Express in 2010 to help the little guys, trying to turn a profit at the brick-and-mortars around town, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Thanksgiving weekend has always been good to local merchants, even before the national Shop Small campaign. Like huge companies, small businesses have relied on the holiday spending frenzy to push their profits into the comfortable zone.
But a little help and exposure has been nice.
"I feel like the customers have become more aware of what it means to shop local," said Sherra Lewis, owner of Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Co. on Frazier Avenue.
The store cut 30 percent off every item Saturday.
"That's a biggie for us," Lewis said. "It's important that we do well on this day because it sets the tone for the rest of the season."
Next-door, a customer at Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore picked up an old record album and couldn't help but say "Wow."
"They want to buy something that means something," said sales associate Annie Oxenfeld. That might be books, toys, Chattanooga-themed car stickers or art created by local artists.
And shoppers were willing to pony up a little extra for something meaningful and local.
"If you want to find a good gift, you're going to have to spend that much no matter where you're at," said Katie Woodham, a Chattanooga resident and recent University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate.
"You find a lot of unique things," she said. "It's neat stuff. I like to give gifts that aren't normal."
To help invite shoppers in, Winder Binder put a blue rug with the Small Business Saturday logo at the front door. The shop registered with American Express months ago.
"Oh, yeah, it's been much busier than a normal Saturday," said Gina Micolo, store manager. "It's for sure helped."
Woodham, like many shoppers, intentionally shopped local to support locals.
And small business owners appreciate it. They know how stiff the competition is.
"The biggest problem we have as a small business is not just the big-box store, it's the online," said Alison Songer, owner of n2 Shoes on Frazier Avenue. "It's tough. So many people price-shop. You have to be frugal. You have to watch your dollars."
Contact staff writer Alex Green at email@example.com or 423-757-6731.
Alex joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 as a region business reporter. He is a native of Dayton, Tenn., located 35 miles north of Chattanooga, and he is a fifth-generation Dayton native. Alex came to the Times Free Press as an editorial intern in July 2013. He was previously a correspondent at The Herald-News, located in Dayton, through college and editor-in-chief of the Triangle, Bryan College's student-led media group. Alex was ...