SAN ANTONIO -

Former small business owner Steve Mannion knows the value of shopping locally.

"I think the small businesses are like they say the backbone of our country," Mannion said.

Mannion is paying it forward, shopping at the family-owned Ranch at the Rim.

"It's smaller, usually, and so they're going to give more attention as opposed to the larger box stores," Mannion said.

Others say it is the rare find that gets them into some of the smaller shops.

"I get a lot of my jewelry because I like the custom stuff, so I do that at small businesses a lot of the time, and little things like hats and the fun stuff," said shopper Nancy Bishop.

Hip Dingo Assistant Manager Mary Hernandez said last year, Small Business Saturday brought in more sales than Black Friday due to the media exposure.

"I'm a small business owner and local business is important to me," said Whispering Waters Day Spa owner Ann Hollister. "Receiving business from local customers and giving my business to local customers, that's what makes our economy grow in San Antonio."

Small business owners say pouring money back into the local economy is a good idea -- and one that can also be mutually beneficial.

"Gives us a chance to once we have those clients in to show them about the old mom and pop stores that call people by name," said Ranch at the Rim owner Benjamin Pena.

American Express is offering extra incentive to participate in Small Business Saturday.

If you register your card and then shop at a participating small business, you will get a one-time cash back amount of $25.