Shopping is fun, at least for some of us, and there’s a lot of consumerism, and advertising focused on bringing potential shoppers into stores, or in shopping online sales. With the rise of massive discount-retailers, it can sometimes feel like local shops and small businesses are underutilized and lack the massive marketing budgets that the bigger, multi-million dollar companies possess. So, it’s important for individuals to frequent their local, community stores, to buy from their neighbors, and to help keep small businesses alive and thriving, which is where Small Business Saturday comes into play. A day, every single year, for the last nine years, that encourages people to shop within their communities and puts a much-needed focus on small businesses doing not so small things.
Small Business Saturday was originally the brainchild of massive credit card company, American Express, and started in 2010. Small Business Saturday is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages participants to shop local and shop small businesses as opposed to primarily at massive retailers.
There are so many reasons, beyond a consumerist holiday to shop local, including the fact that when you do buy from a small business, that money stays within the community, and allows for growth.
Beyond any financial reasons, small, local businesses add to the community in so many ways, and they have a way of bringing the community together. For example, a family-owned grocery store, where customers know the owners, and the owners know their customers, because they’ve had interactions with them over the decades. My grandparents were Holocaust Survivors, who came to this country after liberation in 1945, eventually settling into Williamsburg and then Brooklyn, New York. They opened a fruit store, and though I wouldn’t be born for close to fifty years later, all throughout my life I met people who had been to my grandparent’s fruit store and had stories to tell. That small business, that community-based business impacted people, because that’s what having local businesses exist in a community does, it brings people together in a way that no Target, or Walmart, or even Whole Foods (a personal favorite of mine) ever will.
That’s why it’s critical that both individuals and businesses participate in Small Business Saturday. And it can be a really fun experience for everyone involved, and it’s not a big process to engage in. in 2013, as many as 1400 individuals signed up as Neighborhood Champions to rally for small businesses in their community, and that number continues to grow every single year. In addition to that, the number of participating business has grown exponentially as well. Over the last nine years, in single-day increments, Small Business Saturday has grossed over 109 billion dollars, which is a lot of money over only nine days.
For small businesses, participation in this day could mean more marketing and advertising, through social media, or putting a shop small sticker in the window. Encouraging members of the community to come out to your store, or shop online, and it could mean a huge boon for business, so take the time to take part.
Interested parties can find out more information by going to the Small Business Saturday Website, through American Express. Everyone should make sure to take part because it’s always good to shop local and support your community.
Authored by Lianne Hikind