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This is the day when you're encouraged to do a lot of your Christmas shopping at local businesses and, while you're at it, dine at local restaurants as well.

The City of Denver is also handing out $500 in Park Smart cards which can be used in place of a credit card to park for free now through Dec. 31, to encourage shopping downtown.

According to Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough, 50-percent of Colorado's workforce is small business employees.

And according to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, 80-percent of Denver metro area businesses are small businesses, defined by the chamber as fewer than 100 employees.

Hancock and Brough say small businesses are a crucial part of the economy and they are trying to spread the word to shop local.

"These are folks who are feeding the economy. They are shopping everyday. And they're making investments right here at home. And so it's important that we do everything that we can to keep those small businesses strong and nurturing," Hancock said.

Mick and Carolyn Major run EVOO Markertplace in Denver and say Small Businesses Saturday gives businesses like theirs a boost and customers benefit as well.

"I think you get that personal touch. You get the uniqueness of something totally different," Mick Major said.

They encourage others to shop at small businesses.

"I think just support each other who are in their family-owned business, their local business, helps to support this economy," Carolyn Major said.

Shop Small cards are another incentive to spend at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.

Fed Ex handed out $1,000,000 worth of the cards on Facebook to 40,000 people, which give a $25 discount towards any purchase made Saturday.

Officials hope to boost small business spending throughout the holiday season to help small businesses open and thrive in Denver.

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