Small Business Saturday – the Saturday after Thanksgiving – was created by American Express in 2010 to increase awareness of the impact of small businesses on communities. The event grows every year. In 2015, shoppers spent $16.2 billion on Small Business Saturday, an increase of 14 percent from 2014, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

It's a great reason to explore a new corner of your neighborhood and find ways to get involved in the community. Here are a few businesses to be sure to check out.

1. Coffee shop

Look beyond Starbucks and find an independently-owned place for joe. Grab the local paper, stick around and visit with neighbors. If there's a community bulletin board, see what types of groups meet and what kinds of events are advertised.

2. Book store

Independent bookstores often have shelves featuring local best sellers, in addition to the New York Times' list. See what the locals are reading! Need help finding a store? Check out this search feature from Indiebound.org.

3. Thrift shop

These are often run by local nonprofits, so you might get a chance to chat with volunteers who are invested in the neighborhood.

4. Toy store

Not only can you relive your childhood, an independent toy store is a great place to find out about family events in the community.

5. Your new favorite bar

Surely you'll need a refreshment after all that shopping. Independent restaurants and bars with "Shop Small" signs (which signals they're participating in Small Business Saturday) will probably have happy hour specials. In addition to checking out the cocktails, talk with your server about the regular crowd and the live music scene.

And don't forget: Each RE/MAX office is locally owned and operated, which means they're small businesses, too! If you're local office is participating in Small Business Saturday, stop by and say hello. And when you're ready to buy or sell a home, consider working with your local RE/MAX agent.