QUINCY -- Regan Neese doesn't like to shop -- except on Small Business Saturday.
And the 9-year-old Quincyan already has figured out the importance of the day that encourages people to "shop small" at the start of the holiday season.
"It's to support all the local businesses so they maybe someday can grow bigger," Regan said.
Regan and her mom, Sheri Neese, shopped in a few stores, enjoying both the time together and helping support Quincy's small businesses.
"They're the heartbeat of our community," Neese said. "Without them there would be nothing."
Business owners like Potter & Vaughn's Lisa Crocker saw lots of people coming in throughout the day.
"Small Business Saturday gets better every year," Crocker said. "It's wonderful to see people embrace the idea of shopping locally and supporting small business."
Standing at Crocker's cash register, shopper Gwen Brassfield could check the first couple items off of her shopping list. She started her Christmas shopping on Saturday -- and typically shops on Small Business Saturday to support local businesses.
She planned to stop at Yellow Kiss Boutique and at Popp'n on Maine for other gifts. "I have a friend who really loves popcorn, and that place is perfect," Brassfield said.
Best friends Sue Ascheman and Judy McKinney dropped off some purchases at their car before heading to another store.
"I love to shop. I want to support the local businesses. I want the uptown to develop more," Ascheman said.
"This brings back memories of when we were kids and shopped downtown," McKinney said.
"Downtown is starting to pick up," said Kevin McFarland as he shopped in Crocker's store. "It's got momentum going, and I hope it continues."
Retailers offered special promotions on Saturday, and the day capped off with lighting Washington Park for the holiday season with help from Santa and special guest Buddy the Elf.
"It's kind of like a local business version of Black Friday. It's the day when even if someone who lives in the area only comes downtown one time a year (Saturday's) that day," For Home & Her co-owner Chris Taylor said. "It creates such a buzz with all these people down here."
Three generations of Tarie Tushaus' family roamed from store to store, picking up some Christmas gifts and enjoying the downtown.
"We're big downtown people. We normally eat out down here, We shop down here. We go to yoga down here," Tushaus said.
It's fun "because we find stuff," said 5-year-old Avri Mast, Tushaus' granddaughter.
And some shoppers might just find the perfect thing -- for themselves.
"Some of it's holiday shopping," Taylor said. "Some of our clients are rewarding themselves for all their hard work with Thanksgiving."