JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- This year has been tough for all businesses, especially small businesses.

Small business owners in Downtown Jonesborough say they’re seeing a lot of people coming into their stores on Small Business Saturday.

They told News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant now more than ever, its important to shop local.

“We have a lot of locals here today and people from out of town visiting relatives and it’s really been a big boost to our community,” said owner of Pink Whale Boutique, Danette Whalen.

“We’re Christmas shopping trying to find good ideas,” said shopper and Johnson City resident, Beth Lillycrop. “We want to help the local businesses. We rather do that than order online.”

This year has been tough for everyone as businesses had to close their doors for several weeks at the beginning of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

”Covid-19 has made everything impossible and you tend to just want to shop online and make it easier, but we really want to help the small businesses,” explained Lillycrop.

Mill Spring Makers Market owner, Melinda Copp, homes that Small Business Saturday reminds people how important local businesses are to the local economy.

“Mill Spring Makers Market is home to 45 local artists and craftsman so we have a high selection of local goods that are handcrafted here in Jonesborough and the Tri-Cities region,” said Copp.

As shoppers were out and about, Copp said she’s seeing more people buying handmade Gifts for the holiday,

“I think people are really shopping with intent this year and really looking for gifts that have meaning and gifts that are local.”

Danette Whalen, owner of The Pink Whale Boutique also specializes in personalized gifts and says the town of Jonesborough has helped all small businesses in the community stay open during such difficult times.

“We absolutely love being a part of this community,” explained Whalen, “Everybody supports each other here and I wouldn’t move for anything. I love having the shop right here.”

Whalen said the local community has helped her to keep their doors open during their toughest year yet.

“Small businesses, we support the community and we’re so happy when they support us,” said Whalen.

The Town of Jonesborough is also continuing to host their Downtown at Dusk where businesses stay open until 8 p.m. on Friday nights to encourage people to shop locally during the holiday season.