ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — “Small Business Saturday” and “Stroll on State” is the busiest day of the year for small businesses in Downtown Rockford.

Businesses said that this was the day they have been waiting for.

“Well, now more than ever, small businesses need all the support they can possibly have,” said Pete Defoe, owner of InZombia Coffee.

Defoe wanted to own his own coffee shop since he was kid. His whole family helped make that dream a reality with InZombia Coffee, 306 E. State Street. Everyone is family in Defoe’s world of coffee.

“We know them by name, we know the kids, we even know their drink when they come in the door,” he said. “They don’t even have to say a word, and that is why small businesses are the best. We literally started for our passion.”

Sonya Dowdakin owns Salvaged by Sonya. She believes it is important for people to shop locally and that small businesses are what makes Rockford different.

“Give awareness to our community that we are here. We are small business and we’re what makes our town amazing,” Dowdakin said. “It’s really important that you be part of the community, because we do want you all down here, we miss you throughout the year sometimes.”

“I’m hoping to actually to connect with a lot of people, to those who have never seen us before,” Defoe added.

Dowdakin and Defoe said it is wonderful that there is a day dedicated to recognizing small businesses in the Rockford community. “Small Business Saturday” usually falls on the same day as “Stroll on State,” when thousands of people are downtown.

Jordan Merkel, owner of Magari, said that this was the first time they were a part of Stroll. He was excited to see friends and families with smiling faces, discovering all the small businesses that call Rockford home.

“Hoping everyone notices, you know, that all these businesses down here in Rockford and the stuff you can get for Christmas, for birthdays, for holidays,” Merkel said.

Defoe challenged the community to check out different small businesses and what makes them unique and different, as well as to continue supporting them all.

“I want them to know that InZombia Coffee is here to stay,” he said. “Yes, we are five months old. Hopefully we have five more years, ten more years down the line, and know that I want to grow with the community of Rockford.”