MOUNT CARMEL — While the annual, coordinated Small Business Saturday event that has taken place annually in Mount Carmel will not be held due to COVID-19 concerns, several businesses are expected to offer sales on Nov. 28 as the Christmas shopping season officially gets underway.

Academy Sports Center, 18 S. Oak St., will introduce a new line of scrubs at a 10% discount and will also hold a drawing for a new set of scrubs that will run until the end of December.

Owner Cathy Besser said the sale will run Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28 in an effort to keep congestion in the store to a minimum.

“We are trying to keep everyone safe but at the same time give a pleasant shopping experience,” she said. “Mount Carmel Downtown Inc. is excited about all the new businesses in town and encourages everyone to stop by and see what they have to offer.”

Under new ownership, Catino Vino, 23 S. Oak St., will also be offering Small Business Saturday sales on wine kits, bottles and wine bases.

Mount Carmel Mayor Philip “Bing” Cimino said he makes it a point to stop at the downtown businesses each Saturday following Thanksgiving to make some purchases and touch base with business owners.

“A lot of these businesses put their heart into the town and I always try to stop by and say ‘Hi.’ to store owners,” he said. “I think it’s great that we have a downtown like we have. Not everybody can travel or go to the mall — we want to keep these small businesses here as much as possible.”

Cimino said small businesses in town offer an advantage for residents who are looking to shop while limiting their exposure to COVID-19.

“There are a lot of products you can get downtown and it helps going to smaller businesses with not being exposed to as many people,” he said.

“According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 30 million operations in the country with 500 employees or less, which accounts for 99.9% of all U.S. businesses.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010, as a marketing campaign by American Express and has since become a staple of the post-Thanksgiving shopping calendar, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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