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The SBA Upstate New York District Office visited Witty Wicks Candles & Gift Shop in Syracuse. (From L to R) SBA Upstate New York District Director Bernard J. Paprocki and Founder & Owner of Witty Wicks Aubry Panek.

Shop Small

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Upstate New York District Office (SBA) is encouraging neighbors to “shop small” as the holiday season kicks off this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

This is the 11th anniversary of Small Business Saturday®, which the SBA has proudly been a national co-sponsor of for the last 10 years, according to SBA Upstate New York District Director Bernard J. Paprocki.

“Small businesses need our support now more than ever as they navigate, retool, and pivot from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” says SBA Upstate New York District Director Bernard J. Paprocki. “The holidays might look a little different this year; however, we can still share joy and a sense of community by shopping small and supporting our favorite small businesses, and their employees, all holiday season long.”

By patronizing independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday – between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a way for consumers to make a lasting positive impact in their community. Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday has continued to provide small business owners with a big economic boost during the holiday shopping season. Last year, 110 million consumers went out to shop small and spent a total of $20 billion in local shops and restaurants across America.

But this year, the landscape is different because of COVID-19. E-commerce and contactless shopping and curbside pick remain preferences of 73% of people surveyed by Deloitte in their annual holiday season economic forecast, issued for the 35th consecutive year.  Additionally, the survey notes a majority of shoppers, 51%, feel anxious about shopping physically in a store.

“We can best help our communities by shopping in them. Throughout all of New York’s 64 counties – upstate and downstate – a majority of small retailers, small businesses and restaurants are the foundation of business districts and downtowns. By supporting local establishments, you are giving your hometown a hand-up during this unprecedented time,” Paprocki added.

Small Business Saturday 2020 will be held on November 28, marking the 11th annual Small Business Saturday. Last year, shoppers came together in full force to support their local communities, and Small Business Saturday hit a record high with an estimated $19.6 billion in reported spending.

Aubry Panek owner of Witty Wicks Candles and Gift Shop in Camillus, New York is ready to provide consumers with plenty of stocking stuffers and presents this holiday season. Having started Witty Wicks in her kitchen in 2011 as a passion project, Panek understands how important community support is in creating a flourishing business.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the woman-owned business received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The funds supported payroll for Panek’s employees, and the business now has extended hours this holiday season to make it easier for shoppers to visit.

“Whether it’s wearing masks and heading into stores, purchasing products online, or using curbside pickup, it’s important to get out and shop small at businesses like Witty Wicks this year.” Paprocki comments. “Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for consumers to really make an impact on our economy and in our neighborhoods.”

Since 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration has been a formal cosponsor of Small Business Saturday, which was founded by American Express in 2010. Small Business Saturday is a way for consumers to make an impact in their community by supporting independently owned businesses during the holiday season. Small businesses help to spur economic growth in communities across our country and add vibrance and strength to our nation. For additional information on Small Business Saturday, please visit