WACO, Texas. As the coronavirus enters another surge, Small Business Saturday is playing a critical role compared to previous years.

Small Business Saturday is an initiative began by American Express to encourage shoppers to spend money locally.

Maggie Blair, the owner of jewelry company Magrit CO, a “give-back” business where a percentage of sales go toward a scholarship for people with special needs.

Since Magrit Co. is primarily an online store, Blair depended on various farmers markets across the county to meet new customers and build her brand. However, since the pandemic cancelled many of those gatherings, her sales declined by 50 percent.

“COVID changed everything, so definitely had to pivot, we’ve pivoted back in the spring and we have to pivot again, we’re just hoping we could make it to the new year” Blair said.

It’s the reason she is relying heavily on Small Business Saturday to boost sales and grow support. She is offering markdowns and even free shipping.

Waco clothing store, Apricot Lane is also urging customers to shop locally.

“We’re different from our big box competitors, so whenever you shop local, you’re supporting their families. You’re supporting team members that work at the store that have their own and its all local, so everything is coming back into the community,” said Owner Kristen Postert.

According to American Express, in 2019, an estimated 110 million people participated in Small Business Saturday causing sales to skyrocket with an estimated $19.6 billon in spending nationwide.