Sixteen local businesses are joining forces for Small Business Saturday. Photo by Becky Bonner.

Thanksgiving is over and the shopping frenzy known as Black Friday is currently underway. If you’d like to pick up gifts but avoid the chaos, consider supporting local businesses on Small Business Saturday.

Started in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop at independent merchants on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Sixteen Hollister businesses have joined forces to promote downtown shopping by offering customers a chance to win a raffle prize every time they shop.

“The more they shop the more chances they have to win,” said Kathina Szeto, owner of San Benito Bene in downtown Hollister.

Szeto said that after all raffle tickets are collected on Saturday, Nov. 24, the group will draw tickets and award five raffle baskets, each valued at $200 to $250, on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Raffle prizes include wine, paint party passes, moisturizing products, specialty coffee, gardening treats, appetizers, desserts and more.

Businesses expected to pass out raffle tickets include Aroma Cellars, ARTI-Culture, Beeswax Studio, Bel Amour Pet Spa, Cheap Seats Pub and Grub, Courtney Sandstrom at DeLux Hair Salon, Farmhouse Café, Heavenly Bakery, Heaven Scent Day Spa and Salon, Mars Hill Coffee House, Ohana Shave Ice, Paine’s Restaurant, Salon 218, San Benito Bene, The Garden Shoppe, and Vintage Pearl Salon.

Carissa Garcia, who works at San Benito Bene, likes the idea of Small Business Saturday, as it exposes residents to shops and restaurants they potentially have not frequented before.

“People should come see what we have,” Garcia said. “It gets people to see what we have available in downtown.”

Heavenly Bakery Owner Sheila Stevens is excited to participate with other businesses to promote shopping locally. Stevens, who has owned businesses in Hollister since 1989, said shopping locally will help stimulate the local economy: “If you’re going to keep your town alive you need to shop it.”