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Austinites focus on shopping local this Black Friday

While Black Friday is a big time for big box stores, locals are keeping small businesses in mind.

AUSTIN, Texas — It's Black Friday and of course things are looking a lot different this year due to the pandemic.  

Big box stores are encouraging people to shop online, offering the same deals no matter how you shop. Many of them making it easy for you to pick up those orders by expanding drive-up and pickup services.  

Austin is back in Stage 4 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines, so the City advised people to avoid shopping at the store unless it's essential. 

Mother Melissa Anderson said she has been doing exactly that, but made an exception on Black Friday to shop local and get a special Christmas gift for her son.

RELATED: Keep Austin Local: What small businesses are doing to keep you safe

"I've been ordering all my groceries online," said Anderson on Friday. "I have high-risk people in my family and I just want to make sure they stay safe, and so I'm careful when I go out, wash my hands and wear my face mask." 

Anderson said she made a point to shop local because small businesses are hurting right now. According to the City's sales tax revenue data, more than 1,600 businesses shut down in Austin this year alone, many of them hit with the grim reality of the pandemic.

If you didn't get a chance to shop local this Black Friday, you can do so on Saturday online or in person for Shop Small Saturday, sponsored by American Express.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Americans spent about $20 billion at independent retailers and restaurants during "Small Business Saturday" last year.

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