This will mark the third annual Small Business Saturday, as small and family-owned retailers and manufacturers claim a day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Last year’s event was an unqualified success, retailers reported.
Small Business Saturday was created by American Express for the 2010 shopping season, but the movement quickly spread and by Nov. 27 of that year, about 130 groups had joined in. The event produced a noticeable uptick in sales at small and family-owned establishments. American Express offered its cardholders a $25 credit on their statements as incentive for buying at a qualifying small business.
By 2011, the movement included even the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economy — half of America’s workers either own or work for a small business,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to show our support for our friends and neighbors who throughout the year are growing our local economy, as well as supporting many local initiatives and organizations.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was also a co-founder of the event. He calls small businesses the backbone of our economy and the glue that holds communities together.
Retail sales also account for about 70 percent of our economy. With consumer spending down (and forecasters expecting no improvement over last year in holiday sales), it is all the more important to direct our dollars to small businesses.
As MediaPost’s Market Daily reported last week, the 89 million Americans who plan to shop at a local retailer the
Saturday after Thanksgiving are petite potatoes compared to the 138 million who will storm the malls on Black Friday.
But Small Market Saturday is making gains.
“We knew it worked, and last year we saw a 28 percent rise in sales volumes for our small business merchants versus the same day in 2009,” American Express’ Mary Ann Fitzmaurice told Market Daily in 2011. “And we know small businesses are still struggling, and that 46 percent of people think small business is worse off than it was five years ago.”
She clarifies that the movement isn’t about taking away business from big-box retailers or the malls.
“We don’t think we’re anti-big,” she said. “We just think we’re pro-small. And 38 percent of Americans 89 million tell us they do plan to shop at a local business on this day. That doesn’t mean they won t shop at large stores, too.”
So bear this in mind as you shop this season. Small businesses deserve your business.