AUSTIN -- The holiday shopping season is upon us and Austin businesses are rolling out the welcome mat.
"Everyone's starting to think about shopping for Christmas, we've had a really great weekend," said Shelley Meyer, co-owner of Wild About Music and Austin Rocks Texas.
Both of Meyer's downtown shops celebrate all things Austin year round. However, on Saturday, there was an extra push.
"It reminds people that shopping local is an important thing to do and a unique way to provide really unusual and heartfelt gifts rather than mass-produced gifts," Meyer said.
Thousands of Austin stores participated in Small Business Saturday, asking shoppers to put money back into their local economy.
"This is an awesome store. I'd tell anyone to come walking down here and have a good time, so many unique gifts," said Wild About Music customer Sharee Runte.
Austin art galleries like Jeana Marino's Brazos also pulled out all the stops this weekend.
"I like the local artists. There's a lot of stores down here that have merchandise from artists that are around Austin, just promotes the economy. I like Austin and I want to support it," said shopper Pam Ashley.
This weekend was critical for retailers as they launched into the holiday season. That's why Austin business owners hoped customers would stop in their stores, too.
"Take in a little wine, take in a little good food and get a little gift and you'll have an awesome day," said Runte, laughing.
American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way to kick off the holiday shopping season and help local economies.
There are some deals available for Small Business Saturday for American Express cardholders. If you register your card and make a $25 purchase at one of the local businesses, you can earn a $25 credit.
Austin is known for pushing people to "Shop Local" year-round. The City even created a website dedicated to Austin-owned businesses, which you can find here.