Support Your Local Businesses This Holiday Shopping Season

By Michele Weisman

Imagine the following scenario: It’s 5:00 AM on Friday November 26th, 2010, and just a few hours before, you enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving family dinner. Your body tells you that you should sleep but your mind is focused on a list of doorbusters at the mall. Do you brave the lines and risk getting trampled?

Your local small business merchants hope that you stay in bed and do the bulk of your shopping on Small Business Saturday, an initiative launched by American Express, which encourages consumers to patronize small businesses as part of their holiday shopping.

The advantages of shopping local are numerous—more money stays in your community, you may be able to find unique and creative gifts, and you do not have to fight the crowds and traffic getting to the mall. In addition, American Express has offered both shoppers and merchants incentives.

Shoppers who register their American Express card receive a $25 statement credit when they shop at an independently owned business. Furthermore, the first 10,000 business owners who sign up for the program receive $100 worth of Facebook advertising.  Finally, for each “like” on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page, American Express will donate $1 to Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that inspires and educates girls about entrepreneurship.

Do you intend to participate on Small Business Saturday? What other ways can we support our local businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments!