Thanksgiving is tomorrow and many of us are excited, not only for the food, family, and good tidings, but also for the great shopping opportunity that has become an annual tradition on the Friday after. That tradition is better known as Black Friday, but in 2011 a new, more localized tradition emerged – it’s called Small Business Saturday. Black Friday is more widely known and focuses on knocking down prices in larger, more corporate based stores. Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, is more aimed towards bringing attention to local businesses that might not get as much traffic over the weekend of Black Friday. American Express sponsors the new tradition that started last year and has its first anniversary this coming Saturday. The goal is to spark interest in local businesses, in lieu of Black Friday, and inject money back into smaller, more local economies.
The American Independence Business Alliance (AIBA) out of Texas ran a study that showed that out of every $100 spent in nationwide chain stores, only about 13% ($13) makes it back into the local economy where the goods were purchased. However, the study also showed that a whopping 45-50% of the money spent at smaller, more local businesses ends up staying within the same local economy. That’s nearly four times the amount of money that would end up supporting your city, or town, directly if you were shopping through big businesses instead of locally through smaller shops. The difference is indeed significant, and as such it is important that we start to support our hometowns more, not only on this coming Saturday, but as much as possible and whenever possible.
American Express sponsors the special event in order to bring more credibility to the new underdog of holiday shopping days. Local businesses everywhere are participating and you can be sure to find all sorts of coupons and discounts throughout your town or city’s local storefronts. For those that shop using their American Express card, a $25 credit is being given if used at local, participating businesses. That’s not the only big name backing this Saturday’s shoppers though. Google has been giving out $75 in free advertising to lucky businesses who signed up through their service in order to advertise their deals for the upcoming event. Similarly, Facebook has been offering $100 in free ads for local businesses who have a fan page on the Facebook platform and want to spread the word about their special offers for the big day.
Black Friday will undoubtedly still be the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but Small Business Saturday is becoming more and more recognized especially with so many notable companies giving it support. The Facebook fan page for the big event has nearly 2.5 million ‘likes’ and there are 1,000’s of tweets, articles, and blogs (like this one!) floating around promoting this Saturday. If you’re just hearing about it now, it may not be too late to advertise (if you’re a local business owner) and it surely isn’t too late to plan on which businesses you want to go out and support this Saturday. The moral of the story? Think local this holiday, and if you’re not big on Black Friday, at least make it a point to go out and spend a few bucks at your favorite non-corporate stores this Saturday. Who knows, you may find that holiday gift you were searching for and get it cheaper than you imagined – all whilst keeping most of those dollars in the local market!