WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The streets were packed in the Valley Junction neighborhood Saturday with people bargain hunting on the day dedicated to shopping local.

“It is a good day for us. Usually we see just about double what we see most any other average Saturday so of course we love to see that many people out and about,” said Kelsey Mihalovich, the owner of Hinge, a shop in Valley Junction.

“I love Small Business Saturday, it’s one of my favorite days of the year. Everyone’s in a good mood. Everyone is wanting to support local, we’re local, most of Valley Junction is all local businesses that want to support each other so it’s great to see the street filled with people,” said Val Veiock, the owner of Bing’s, a shop in Valley Junction.

Lindsay Jones was one of those shoppers enjoying Valley Junction Saturday. She likes spending her money on small business Saturday rather than bargain hunting on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

“I see how hard the businesses work to stay open so I just like to come out and support them rather than supporting big online stores or things like that,” Jones said.

After the pandemic put a damper on Small Business Saturday the past two years, both Mihalovich and Veiock said it’s great to see the streets of Valley Junction full of people again.

“It feels really good to have a day where everyone is not panicked about COVID, things like that,” Veiock said. “Everyone’s in a good mood. People are out and about with their families. We didn’t see as many families in the last couple of years on Small Business Saturday so it’s really a family event where everyone can be out and about today.”

“It’s great to see people’s faces and be able to see their smiles,” Mihalovich said. “We’ve missed that at the holidays for, you know, several years. The stores are busy, they’re full, people aren’t as concerned about being close to one another as they have in the past so that’s definitely nice to see too.”

It was a fun day for shoppers in Valley Junction while getting a great deal on holiday gifts and helping local businesses at the same time.