encourages Americans across the country to support local small businesses. The day infuses money back into our local economies, promotes vibrant and diverse communities, and celebrates the important role of small businesses in the national economy.
Small Business Saturday is an annual event that takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (this year, November 24, 2018). Since Small Business Saturday started, U.S. customers have reported spending an estimated total of $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants – that's $85 billion over 8 days alone, according to American Express.
How did it start?
In 2010, in an effort to support local small businesses – many of whom were hurting during the economic recession – American Express launched Small Business Saturday to help drive more holiday shopping to small businesses. One year after the launch, local officials across the nation began to notice and promote the day. In fact, in 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday and by 2012 officials in all 50 states began to participate – and they have every year since.
Last year over 7,200 individuals and local business organizations rallied neighborhoods across the country to get out and shop small. The day has grown into an annual holiday shopping tradition.
Amy Brace, owner of Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins, MN.
“Small Business Saturday is the heart and soul of our downtown Mainstreet,” said Amy Brace, Owner of Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins, MN. “Families, businesses, and the community all come together to celebrate the holiday season and all the unique businesses we have in Hopkins. Holidays, giving, and of course the window decoration contest highlight every small business in a way that makes you feel at home.”
What’s the impact?
According to the Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express, consumers’ local impact during the important holiday shopping season is significant, because an average of two-thirds of every dollar ($0.67) spent at small businesses in the U.S. stays in the local community. Every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services.
“Our country’s 28 million small businesses play a pivotal role in America’s economy and communities,” said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to support this vital component to the economy. When small businesses are growing, our local communities are growing, and in turn the national economy grows. Shopping small – what a great way to spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving!”
According to the Q4 2017 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, a majority (55%) of retailers report that their overall profit depends on the holiday season. Spending money locally matters. For every $10 million spent locally, 57 new jobs are created at local businesses, according to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.
“Small Business Saturday is a great reminder of the impact that our small businesses have on our local economy and in our communities,” said Kim Lane, Executive Director of Pigtown Main Street in Baltimore, MD. “At our Small Business Saturday event, shoppers have the opportunity to support local merchants that offer exclusive promotions and one-of-a-kind gifts, while reinvesting their money back into the neighborhood.” Pigtown is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the commercial revitalization of the Washington Boulevard commercial corridor in Baltimore next to the Orioles’ ballpark and the Ravens’ stadium.
Pigtown Main Street mural in Baltimore, MD.
Beth Stanaland, co-owner of Glengary Tree Farm in Amissville, VA, said “Small Business Saturday is a highlight of our year! It brings our small farm into the spotlight in such a way that allows us to showcase the unique experiences we have to offer. Shoppers come in as strangers and leave as family.”
How can you help?
Support the small businesses in your area and shop local – especially during Small Business Saturday on November 24th. Be sure to share your shop small experiences on social media using #ShopSmall and thank the businesses you visit for their contributions to our neighborhoods.
“We want to thank the people who consciously support Small Business Saturday,” said Adam Fazackerley, COO and Founder of Lay-n-Go in Alexandria, VA. “These companies, shops, services, and restaurants are made up of people who decided to take a risk and build something that makes our country and our communities better. They are businesses made up of veterans, dreamers, young, old, and people of every descent. They are the best that America has to offer.”
For more Small Business Saturday ideas and resources, and to see how your support of small businesses can impact your community, visit American Express’ Small Business Saturday page.
About the authors
Bridgett Hebert is the former director for strategic communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.