PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - People nationwide braved cold weather, rain and massive lines Friday morning–but every year, Portland’s local retailers also get in on the action through a special shopping program.

Businesses across the city are encouraging people to think big by shopping small.

The Little Boxes program started in 2011 as a niche idea and quickly took off. Now, more than 200 small businesses are taking part in the program.

The program offers huge discounts in an effort to get more people to spend their money at local stores. It also gives customers a chance to win prizes.

“Portland is a small business town, and it’s one of the things we love about it,” Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish said. “Small businesses contribute to our community in big and little ways.”

Audra Santillo owns Workshop Vintage in north Portland. She says there is a sense of pride that comes with being able to offer unique products that people can’t find anywhere else.

“We feature a lot of local artisans, so whether it’s clothing, jewelry, handmade ornaments … you can find a wide array of unique gist you can’t necessarily find online, or in the big box stores,” Santillo said. “It’s a great way to explore all the neighborhoods, and the more places you visit and the more places you shop, you get entered into raffles and there’s all sorts of great, amazing prizes.”

Outside of saving people dollars and cents, Little Boxes collects donations and partners with local groups to provide meals for seniors and gifts for children.

People who want to participate in the local event must download the Little Boxes app on a mobile phone and then shop at participating stores. The program runs through the weekend.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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