ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Once the lights are on and Stateline residents have their tree, it’s time for them to start shopping.

It means that thousands of shoppers will be up bright and early on Nov. 25, to take advantage of Black Friday deals on everything from teapots to televisions.

One local business advocate says she recognizes the massive Black Friday draw for national retailers but says she likes to remind shoppers that small businesses are the backbone of the Rockford community.

“The days after Thanksgiving are obviously huge shopping daystar some folks, and people will choose to get up early and go out to different businesses,” Winnebago Buy Local President Lauren Davis said. “But what I always recommend is do the little bit of additional effort to kind of seek out those local businesses that are having specials and sales and doing really fun things on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. It will make a huge difference.”

Advocates like Davis say supporting small businesses not only helps them stay in business, it strengthens the local economy.

According to retail experts, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in the community. When that same $100 is spent at a national chain, only $43 stays here.

“Not only am I talking about places to get gifts,” Davis said, “but also placed to buy experiences—places to tune up your car, places to get your landscaping done, to get your pet food and pet supplies—all of those things can be done locally. Supporting local businesses makes our community more than anywhere else. It makes it totally unique and not a cookie-cutter place.”