By Michele Weisman Imagine the following scenario: It’s 5:00 AM on Friday November 29th, 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 deals and doorbusters at the shopping centers and mall. Do you brave the long lines and risk getting trampled?
Your local small business merchants hope that you stay in bed and do the bulk of your shopping on Main Street on Saturday November 30th, also known as Small Business Saturday. Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to patronize small businesses as part of their holiday shopping. This day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Since its start, Small Business Saturday has grown into a movement that millions of individuals, businesses, and communities have embraced nationwide. In 2012, consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion at locally-owned restaurants on Small Business Saturday.
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 $10 statement credit when they shop at an independently owned business. Remember to visit the Small Business Saturday Map to find qualifying small business locations.
And to encourage others to join the movement, you can talk about it on social media. Some ideas are:
- Check-in at local businesses and describe the best deals you see.
- Post pictures and links from their websites on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. People will be bored or waiting in line over the holiday, and they'll be checking their newsfeeds.
- Brag. Show others the stuff you nabbed and be sure to tag the business's social media page in the pictures caption.
When consumers shop at local businesses, they support all the things that make their community great. They're also supporting their friends and family as well as the people who support their local schools and charities. On Saturday, remember to "shop small!"
Will you participate in Small Business Saturday? What other ways can we support our local businesses?