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Downtown York shop owners talk about what Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 25, means to them and what they have to offer this holiday season. Wochit

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Downtown York business owners are prepping for what many said is the busiest weekend of the year. 

On Saturday, Nov. 24, stores across the city will offer extended hours and special promotions as part of the national Small Business Saturday.

"It's bigger than First Friday; it's a big deal," said Michelle Lenzi, owner of Lele B's Boutique, 13 S. Beaver St. 

This will be Lenzi's second year participating in York's own Shop Small Saturday.

Lele B's Boutique will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Customers will receive a free pair of black fleece-lined leggings with a $50 purchase, while supplies last. Hobo purses and wallets will be 20 percent off. 

Saturday will just kick off the hectic season. "I'll be busy up until Christmas time," Lenzi said.

Lenzi said she's even clearing out seating in her store to make room for more inventory. 

About six years: Collectively, downtown York businesses have been participating in the nationwide shopping event for about six years, said Downtown Inc CEO Silas Chamberlin.

The holiday was launched by American Express in 2010 and encourages local shopping. 

Alexandria Keener Hammond, owner of My Girlfriend's Wardrobe, 38 N. Beaver St., is a Small Business Saturday veteran. 

Keener Hammond said she's been participating for about five years. 

"This is my favorite day of the year, and it's something that I really enjoy getting ready for and talking to people about," she said. "The excitement from the customers' point of view is there as well. They're really excited about the day, and they like that they can come down and shop small and know they're doing something good." 

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My Girlfriend's Wardrobe will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The first five customers to check out will receive 15 percent off all items they can fit into a shop small tote. 

All other customers will receive a shop small tote, while supplies last. 

Ripple effect: By shopping locally, residents can help money circulate within the region, Chamberlin said. 

"When you spend money at a small local business, obviously you’re creating a ripple effect throughout the local economy," he said, adding that merchants do business with other local providers. 

The best way to make a difference in the local economy is to "come out and shop," said Gayle Lanphier, owner of Sarah's Sweet and Savory Snacks, 9 W. Philadelphia St. 

Sarah's Sweet and Savory Snacks will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers will receive 10 percent off all pre-order gift items; there will be free gift wrapping and product samples available. 

Other businesses, such as restaurants, also benefit from the day because there will be larger numbers of shoppers in the area, Chamberlin said. 

Promotions: Downtown Inc listed store hours and special deals on a Small Business Saturday Facebook event (www.facebook.com/events/205601683667439). 

Inside Central Market, Strathmeyer will have its Christmas stand with trees for sale from Black Friday through Christmas. Customers who show a receipt of $20 or more from a downtown business will receive $5 off. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect Alexandria Keener Hammond's name. 

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