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Shoppers at the annual Dalplex Christmas Craft Market bought from dozens of local businesses. (CBC)

While many Maritimers headed south of the border in search of Black Friday sales, on Saturday in Halifax, there was a focus on buying local.

Shoppers say it's not about deep discounts, but rather supporting local businesses.

"I think it's fantastic if people buy locally," said Sussana Groom, a vendor at the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market. "It's great to support the local economy."

Margaretha Van den Hoek Field helps run That Dutchman's Farm, an award-winning cheese farm in Upper Economy, N.S., that's been in her family for more than 30 years.

"I think people are starting to understand that — buy locally and keep it close to home," she said.

Artist Paul Hannon agreed.

"Well, it's great because, in particular with my work, all the images are local, so is the production of the printing, the matting, the framing ... so everything I'm doing here is out of HRM. I benefit, but so do the people that supply me," Hannon said.

Many local businesses such as Susie's Shortbreads, Bishop's Cellar, Carbonstok and Thornbloom were tweeting under the popular Twitter hash tag #SmallBizSatHFX, and many supporters were happily retweeting to pass the message along.

"It really does get the message out," Hannon told CBC News. "If you can buy locally, you're really helping out your neighbours."