Holiday shoppers were again expected to hit the ground running with the arrival of another Black Friday.

Shoppers have a way of plotting their strategies to get the best holiday shopping bargains, and as quickly as possible. As they take to the stores, the goal always should be to spend as much time and money in their local communities as possible.

It’s fiercely competitive for many retailers who see this time of year as a make-or-break situation. Retailers of every kind and size that are serious about getting the most from the holiday season already have offered sale prices in the run-up to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many stores — and national chains in particular — look to reach profitability, or go “in the black.”

More national retailers even open their doors on Thanksgiving Day in hopes of attracting eager shoppers looking to take advantage of “door-buster” deals and other deep discounts.

Of course, the rush to cash in on deals won’t end with Black Friday — and that should help more stores make the most of the important revenue-producing holiday season.

Smaller, independent merchants now also look to lure shoppers on Small Business Saturday, which falls on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. The day has become an opportunity to also remind consumers to take stock in all their hometown retailers have to offer.

In sizing up what to expect this time around on the holiday shopping front, the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation (NRF) — the world’s largest retail trade association — recently released results of a survey that showed an estimated 165.3 million people were likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through the weekend and on so-called Cyber Monday, the day that entices consumers to make purchases online.

As for Small Business Saturday, the NRF report projected 66.6 million customers planning to take advantage that day, and in part because they know the value of supporting their hometown retailers. That’s encouraging for communities in Kansas and other states that want and need their consumer dollars to stay home.

The survey also showed 39.6 million consumers considered shopping on Thanksgiving Day, with a whopping 114.6 million interested in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping.

The potential benefit speaks for itself. In its annual forecast, NRF called for holiday retail sales in November and December nationwide to be up between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 for a total of $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion.

Considering as much, it’s always good to weigh the value of supporting independent, locally owned businesses.

Smaller retailers must work especially hard to stay viable amid the growth of big-box stores and Internet shopping sites. The smaller operations can’t always compete in inventory and pricing, but they are well-positioned to flaunt fantastic customer service, along with niche and specialty products and services.

Bottom line, all local dollars spent — whether at national chains or smaller businesses — matter because they put more sales tax dollars into local government coffers, which in turn help communities grow and prosper.

More hometown people and programs thrive when retailers of every size have a successful holiday shopping season. Consumers can make it happen by being thoughtful and spending their dollars at home on Small Business Saturday and beyond.