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Old Lake Circuit Courtroom and the Lake County Commissioners courtroom

The Maki Ballroom in the old Lake County Courthouse will host a Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

There's Black Friday, there are more and more stores opening on Thanksgiving day, and there's Cyber Monday.

But a growing movement proposes that the big guys shouldn't get all of the proverbial pie when the holiday season kicks off.

The Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people from across the Region to celebrate Small Business Saturday by shopping at local merchants.

“Small business is the life-blood of Valparaiso because they employ local residents that pay state and local taxes that support our schools, local government and provide resources to local charities," Valpo Chamber President Rex Richards said. "Local small business owners are active in helping to grow our community."

Highland is celebrating Small Business Saturday with sales offered at places like Sip Coffee House 2, The Primitive Peddler and Michael's Resale & Consignment in downtown Highland. 

More than 20 businesses in downtown Hobart will offer special promotions between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. A welcome station will be set up in The Art Theatre at 230 Main St. where visitors can get tote bags, maps of participating businesses and a passport the merchants will stamp.

Visitors to The Art Theatre can enter a raffle to win prizes and gift cards, and get their kids' picture taken with Santa at no cost between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 and 3 p.m.

The Crossroads Chamber of Commerce will offer shoppers in Crown Point the opportunity to pick up passports to be stamped when they visit participating stores. When shoppers obtain three or more stamps, they will be eligible for prizes raffled off throughout the day. 

Crown Point's Winter Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the old courthouse's Maki Ballroom. Passports will be available there and at all participating businesses as well as during Santa's procession.

And as part of its Small Business Saturday event, the Greater LaPorte Chamber of Commerce has encouraged merchants to be open during Santa's parade, starting at noon near Teegarden and Lincolnway.

The national Small Business Saturday holiday was founded by American Express eight years ago. Last year, more than 108 million people across the country said they shopped or dined at independent businesses, spending an estimated $12 billion. American Express estimates consumers have spent more than $85 billion at local merchants since the shopping holiday started.

About 20 percent of consumers surveyed said it had a positive impact on the community, according to the credit card company.

For more information, visit shopsmall.com.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.