According to AP reports, Small Business Saturday — a national effort held on Nov. 24 — is bringing together small and independent retailers who are banding together, believing there is strength in numbers.

“Small Business Saturday is a real opportunity for folks to begin or windup their Christmas Shopping,” Barbara Garrow, executive director of Crossroads Downtown Partnership in Morristown, said.

Retailers in the downtown area, including the Sherwood Commons shopping center, are holding a two-part Small Business Saturday event, with 22 merchants participating.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Nov. 24, coupon booklets will be given to the first 250 people who visit the downtown area; they will be available at two locations: the corner of South Henry and Main streets and at the pedestrian walkway between East Tennessee Diamond and Gigi’s.

“Most of these coupons advertise bargains available at participating stores,” Garrow said. “Two hundred of these booklets have a $5 coupon good at any downtown merchant. The coupons in the booklet can be used from Small Business Saturday through Christmas Downtown that takes place Friday evening, Dec. 14. Many of the stores are on Main Street and two are located in Sherwood Commons.”

Merchants in downtown Morristown will also participate in a decorated window contest. Those who pick up coupon books can vote for their top three picks using a ballot on the last page of the booklet. The ballots are to be turned in at the distribution points no later than 2 p.m. on Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop in their small local stores rather than national chains and what are called big box stores, has become an event in neighborhoods, towns, even cities as retailers recognize they can draw more customers as a cohesive group than by offering discounts and promotions on their own.

“Small Business Saturday is an important event to Morristown. Money spent at these locally-owned businesses stays in the community and becomes instrumental is supporting Morristown’s economy and helps family-owned businesses remain viable in this competitive economy. Spend you dollars where it really counts, at home,” Garrow said.

According to the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, produced by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, 108 million shoppers spent $12.9 billion in 2017.

Ahead of the event, nine in 10 U.S. consumers reported that the event “has had a positive impact on their community,” and “inspires them to explore new independently-owned retailers and restaurants.”

As many as 80 percent of all consumers surveyed say at least some of their holiday shopping will be done at small, independently-owned retailers or restaurants,” according to the report.

The most popular businesses supported by shoppers on Small Business Saturday force were local restaurants, bars and pubs (41 percent) clothing and accessory stores (24 percent), food stores (23 percent), and coffee shops (22 percent).

The report also said that by 2012, two years after it started, all 50 states were participating in the event.

According to AP reports, retailers say they do see sales blip up during Small Business Saturday, but their aim is also to remind shoppers that they are there year-round.