A piece of the retail pie: Small Business Saturday puts focus on Chattanooga area ventures

Staff photo by Tim Barber/ Rachel Smith, left, reaches into a bag for an ornament held by Blue Skies store manager Kim Meyer. "Customers get either 10, 20 or 40-percent off today and tomorrow," owner Tina Harrison said.

Brittany Durkin expects big sales Saturday at her Cleveland, Tennessee, business as the store provided envelopes with discounts to the 375 people who took part in a 5K race on Thanksgiving.

"It's definitely a good sales day," said the owner of Terra Running Co. about Small Business Saturday.

Aimed at bolstering local shops, Small Business Saturday is backed by American Express. The company notes that two-thirds of every dollar spent at local ventures stays in that community.

A new survey shows that 74% of shoppers are supporting small, independently-owned businesses over the Christmas holiday season, and Chattanooga area merchants are sweetening the pot with innovative discounts and incentives.

Durkin said she expects the 5K race discounts and other sales could help drive a couple of hundred people through her 90 North Ocoee St.