By Cassie Kaye
In 2010, American Express launched the Small Business Saturday initiative as a marketing counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Always the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29 this year), Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to forego the insanity of Black Friday sales at large retailers in favor of supporting shop owners, restaurateurs and artisans within their community.
The event’s first year was so successful that Congress passed a resolution in 2011 to officially declare Nov. 26 of that year Small Business Saturday, and the event has continued to grow ever since. The National Federation of Independent Business released a survey after the 2013 event stating that awareness of Small Business Saturday rose to 71 percent (up from the previous year’s 67 percent), and those aware of the event reported spending $5.7 billion at independent retailers and restaurants across the country.
Many consumers don’t realize the big effects shopping small can have on a community. According to the Small Business Association, as of 2011 there were 28.2 million small businesses in the United States, and small businesses accounted for 63 percent of new jobs between 1993 and mid-2013. Buying local allows you to invest in your community in more ways than one — small businesses are more likely to spend more money on products and materials from other businesses in the area, which strengthens the local economy, and most small businesses are owned by people who live and plan to stay in the area, and are therefore typically more invested in the future of the community.
Atlanta boutique Henry & June, open since July 2014, will be participating in Small Business Saturday for the first time by offering 30 percent off their entire store that day, in addition to multiple deals and discounts both in store and online the entire weekend. While many stores will have similar deals and discounts as incentives to bring in customers this Saturday, others will opt for special events to connect with their local community. Crafted Westside of Atlanta is one such store that will be hosting holiday ornament making classes and other events in lieu of discounts for Small Business Saturday.
American Express is giving its cardholders incentives for shopping small this year by offering $10 cash back with purchases of at least $10 at qualifying merchants. If you need help finding shops and restaurants to support, shopsmallnow.com has an interactive map of American Express’ qualifying merchants searchable by city and type of business. Many cities also have Facebook pages and event listings to help you find discounts and promotions specific to businesses in that area.
Although American Express is an official sponsor of the Small Business Saturday initiative, the day is “payment agnostic,” and business owners will accept any form of payment they typically take. And it isn’t all about buying gifts for others or yourself — make sure to also support local restaurants and charities by stopping in for a bite to eat or donating money, supplies or time to your favorite cause.
Don’t forget to swing by Barnes and Noble or Whole Foods this Saturday to support your favorite small business by grabbing the latest issue of Eidé!