The holiday sales continue for much of the nation's major chains but still, they've only seen a small increase in yearly sales.

WDBJ7's Nadia Singh found out that the smaller, locally owned stores are the ones making a hit with shoppers.

Not only do they love the unique selection available, store owners say, they're thrilled with this year's numbers.

The trees have been trimmed, all the presents opened and for business owners like Laura Duckworth, this holiday shopping season, albeit shorter, was a winner for the store she co-owns, The Gift Niche.

"I just feel like it has been a very good season."

The wave to shop locally has spread across the country through various initiatives both regional and national. And the stores, are seeing the results.

"The push on locally, shop locally that American Express did I think that got it in peoples' minds that if they want to keep people like me, who has the unique gift, they need to support us," Duckworth told WDBJ7.

"I didn't know if that would be a big deal or not and I think the first time we participated was last year and everybody was coming down for Small Business Saturday, it was great," Manager of Rosemont 310, Julie Casey, told Your Hometown News Leader.

This year, the national chains barely saw an increase in sales. ShopperTrak estimates just about 2-point-4 percent. But we found that specialty, boutiques and family-owned businesses have seen the opposite trend.

"We've held strong and done better than we had last year, it's just been great, everybody's been coming out downtown," Casey said.

It's the customers' choice where to shop and most shop everywhere. But those we spoke to always seem to come back for the small store feel.

"You want to support them and they have good products so that's why I go here and it's not as many people," Joyce Dixon told WDBJ7.

"I do a little bit of each but I definitely love the local stores." "They're best for the unique gifts, definitely," shopper, Laura Stockstill said.

But more importantly, especially for those like Duckworth, to keep the local economy growing and vibrant.