SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Corrine Campbell, owner of Corrine’s Closet in downtown Springfield, didn’t know what to expect this small business Saturday. What she got was an early Christmas surprise.

“I was thinking okay, it’s gonna be okay day I wasn’t expecting this multitude of customers coming in and shopping and supporting and visiting your store,” Campbell said.

Small Business Saturday is the start of the holiday shopping season for many businesses, and they are hoping this strong turnout is a good sign of things to come for the rest of the year.

“It gives me a light at the end of the tunnel thinking that if i can get through the pandemic, and then come out of it, in a normal year, whatever normal will end up being, then that gives me a lot of hope for for years to come,” Patrick Russell, owner of Reverie Apparel, said.

Russell opened his business last year right before small business Saturday. He said this year was on pace to match last year’s sales numbers.

“I think that people are making a conscious effort to come down and shop local, especially more this year. Because it’s true when they say, you know, you’re directly supporting a family, when you shop local,” Russell said.

Small business owners have gone months without that rush that comes with having a bustling show room. It left owners like Campbell scared for the future, but she felt that feeling again Saturday, and credited it to the Springfield community for showing up.

“Its amazing. Its a wonderful feeling knowing that, as I said before, tourism is like dried up and everything there’s no visitors but to notice Springfield stepping up and coming and spending time downtown Springfield. I’m excited. I can feel like chill.”