During one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year, caught in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, falls one special day – Small Business Saturday. Occurring every year since its inception in 2010 on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, consumers are encouraged to celebrate and support local, small businesses within their communities.
This November 29th marked the fifth annual Small Business Saturday. Launched by American Express, unanimously enshrined by the United States Senate and publicly promoted by the President, the associated “Shop Small” initiative has taken off and helped generate billions of dollars of revenue for small businesses all over the Nation. Small Business Saturday gives smaller businesses the opportunity to compete with the larger companies. The best part about it all is that the impact and awareness of the initiative has grown and continues to grow every year.
“In only five years, Small Business Saturday has taken on a life of its own and it’s been very exciting to see how small business owners and communities have come together to own the day and make it special,” said Lisette Bernstein, Vice President of Small Business Saturday at American Express.
Not only does the national media play a role in the Shop Small efforts, but individuals and local groups within communities nationwide contribute tremendously to the success of this initiative. In 2013, the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express reported that $5.7 billion was spent by consumers who were shopping small. This year, 75.2 percent of those surveyed in National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving Weekend Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics said they did or had planned to shop specifically for Small Business Saturday.
“Small Business Saturday has gotten bigger every year and has been a big boost to Main Street America,” said NFIB CEO and President Dan Danner. “Local businesses have been enthusiastic about Small Business Saturday from its inception but what’s really encouraging is that more American consumers are making a commitment to visit their neighbors on Main Street as part of their holiday shopping.”
The Shop Small initiative gives the Main Street shops a chance at dipping their hands into the holiday dollars pot. One thing that really drives consumers to shopping during Small Business Saturday is knowing that a good portion of the money they are spending will be going right back into the community that they live in.
“In just five years, Small Business Saturday has become part of our holiday shopping tradition and an important rallying cry to support all of the small, independent businesses that serve as the backbone of our communities,” said President of American Express OPEN Denise Pickett. “The holiday shopping season can be a make-or-break moment for many small business owners. Small Business Saturday puts these businesses in a better position to compete for more customers and sales.”
Even President Obama took part in shopping small this Saturday. Along with his daughters, he visited an independent bookstore in Washington, D.C. – Politics and Prose – and purchased 17 books to help promote small businesses. Although some of the titles may not be for Mr. President, himself, the full list can be seen here, if interested.
Along with over 200 companies, Small Business Saturday had some additional help from a few big name companies this year. Eventbrite made it possible for many small business owners to create and promote their Shop Small events to consumers this season; Yelp and Bing are offering $100 in advertising credits for businesses who sign up to use their services before the end of December; and FedEx – a strong supporter of Small Business Saturday – shipped Small Business Saturday merchandise to small business owners free of charge and reached out to help with marketing efforts leading up to the day by offering two free 11”x17” printed posters.
Supporting local businesses is vital to the success of local communities and ultimately the Nation’s economy. The Shop Small initiative doesn’t have to be only one day a year. Visit your local, small businesses today, tomorrow and every day to keep the trend and your community going.