HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- This year has posed so many challenges for local businesses, and they need the support from shoppers this holiday season.

To shine a light on Small Business Saturday, Hartford’s historic Pratt Street turned into a winter wonderland on Saturday, for people to shop small and buy local.

“You need to get out and help, I mean there's really cool stuff too. So, we’re getting prepared for the holidays. We celebrate Kwanza, so extra gifts and little things we can pick up,” said Rob Lee, of West Hartford, who was out shopping on Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is designed to celebrate the ‘shop small’ movement, and encourage people to find local stores for holiday shopping.

“It’s extremely difficult to get the courage to launch a small business, and then we really hope that people feel connected because a mission, innovation and we really want to connect to the community,” said Eliana Cardeno, founder and CEO of Kiyomi Beauty.

Cardeno founded the skincare company about two years ago. It was one of the many small businesses featured on Saturday in downtown Hartford.

The “Home for the Holidays” event was put on by the Hartford Chamber of Commerce as way of encouraging people to support local businesses.

Saturday’s socially distant event featured local vendors, food, clothes, books, music and more.

“It’s so important to keep Hartford on the map. I live in Hartford, I work in Hartford, it’s so important to make sure people continue to recognize the vibrancy of our city,” said Bria Day, founder of Disheveled Diva.

One in five small business owners say they will have to shut down if economic conditions don't improve within six months, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business.

With so many small businesses struggling amid the pandemic, entrepreneurs hope people consider giving the gift of local this holiday season.

“I think what it does is it connects us and I think that connection is really what we’re looking for,” said Donald Pendagast, founder of Curated CT.

Anyone who wasn’t able to make it to Saturday’s event but still wants to support local businesses, click here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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