Shop big at small businesses this weekend

Shop big at small businesses this weekend


Well, it’s that time of year again, the budget-busting holiday season when shopping becomes a national pastime for a few weeks. But of all the shopping days ahead, perhaps the most important will be this weekend, Nov. 28, which has been designated Small Business Saturday. That’s the day we should all rally around our local businesses and make sure they benefit from seasonal spending as well.

Small Business Saturday is the brainchild of, no doubt, a very clever ad person at American Express. It was inaugurated on Nov. 27, 2010 and has since continued to be reserved for the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Its position, which is nestled nicely between Black Friday—traditionally for big-box or department store shopping—and Cyber Monday—reserved for e-commerce—seems to be the right fit. In fact, officials on all levels of government gave their blessing to the idea in 2011 by voicing support for it.

Data shows that on that day in 2012, 73.9 million people were reported shopping in small businesses and in 2014, a whopping $14.3 billion dollars was spent at local shops in downtown business districts. Its success is spreading around the globe, too.  The concept has now also been adopted in the UK.

Of course, that’s not so bad for big businesses like American Express either, a name that’s emblazoned on all of the informational packets that are distributed to the small businesses and customers on that day. Still, it is a means by which these small stores can thrive on what is widely believed to be the “make or break” time of year for many of them.

These individual and family-run shops have been an important part of our historic downtown communities for decades, but have found it hard to keep up with larger establishments, even though in most cases they offer competitive prices, shorter lines and personalized service, something one certainly can’t get at the mall.

This program now gives them an opportunity for a bit more of a competitive edge. However, it is up to shoppers to actually make that happen.