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A little bit goes a long way for local shops on Small Business Saturday

According to American Express, for every dollar someone spends at a small business in the U.S., about 67 cents stays right in the local community.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — On Saturday, several people in the U.S. spent their day heading over to their local coffee shop or mom-and-pop grocery store for the annual American Express "Small Business Saturday."

For local businesses in Little Rock, a little bit goes a long way. 

If you think about grabbing your morning coffee at a local shop instead of a chain, those dollars can really add up. 

Local business owners Abbi Siler (Abbi's Teas & Things) and Sally Mengel (Loblolly) said supporting them means simply supporting your neighbor. 

Siler said tea has always been a passion of hers.

"I actually had a full time career. I was in digital marketing at a local agency here in town, but as a side hustle, I would write for different tea companies," she said. 

About three years ago, Siler said that hobby turned into her full-time job. 

"So now, I'm living the dream," she said. 

Abbi's Teas & Things is nestled in one of the historic houses in Hillcrest where it has a dining area, gift shop, and even a tea party room. 

It has a variety of tea flavors; from Scottish Breakfast to Spiced Orange to limited-edition Holiday Spirit. 

"We just have a good time making tea," she said. 

Siler spent her Saturday at the River Market with about 50 other local vendors for the 3rd annual "Think Big, Shop Small" event. 

She said every year this day is extremely meaningful to her.

"I get to meet local merchants who are local, but also, it's neat to see people come out and intentionally support local businesses," Siler said.

About 10 minutes down the road, there was a line of eager sweet tooth lovers on Saturday ready to indulge in the SoMa district's neighborhood ice cream shop. 

"Loblolly started because there was no hand-crafted small batch ice cream in Little Rock. We wanted to create that experience for people in Little Rock," Sally Mengel, Loblolly co-owner, said. 

For the past seven years, she has not only been serving up unique flavors for her town, but also creating a space for memories. 

"It's just really neat to see people come in for their kids first ice cream or people have come in right after they've gotten married to celebrate. We've had weddings here," Mengel said. 

She said being a part of these special moments with people in her community is one of the many reasons she loves being a small business owner. 

"You get to kind of create your neighborhood vibe, you're kind of creating the flavor of your community," Mengel said. 

At the end of the day, both Siler and Mengel agreed that supporting local business means supporting the people that make your city special. 

"It supports your local community. It supports your local neighbor, your friend," Mengel said. 

Both business owners expressed how grateful they are for a day like "Small Business Saturday" that highlights their shops, but how important it is to remember to shop locally on a regular basis.

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