BUCKSPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - As the holiday shopping season gets underway, Maine communities are encouraging shoppers to think locally.

Small Business Saturday was recognized in areas around Maine, including Bangor, Belfast and Bucksport.

In Bucksport, local businesses featured deals and holiday events that will be taking place in the community throughout the holiday season.

"The different merchants got together actually a couple of weeks ago. And we were planning the decorations, the events, the parade, the night on the town where different musicians will be places in businesses around town," said Bucksport business owner Colleen Gross.

Business owners say working together will ensure a stronger community investment in local shops, beyond Small Business Saturday.

"Even for the whole state of Maine, I think it is imperative," said Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Wombacher. "Big box stores are fine they exist in our world but there are so many niches in our small communities that can and are still being filled by these entreprenuers."

"If we don't all help each other, we aren't going to grow. We aren't going to thrive," said Colleen Gross.