This Saturday marks a big day for small businesses around the country as promotions and advertising encourage shoppers to make purchases from small, local businesses rather than the big retailers. Last year, 88 million consumers did their shopping on Small Business Saturday (SBS), spending close to $14.3 billion dollars. This year, projections for SBS are a similar, healthy $14 billion, as consumers are becoming more willing to shell out dollars at local businesses.
Participating stores include cafes, salons, restaurants, art galleries, and fitness studios, changing focus from simply buying merchandise to contributing to the community instead. Engagement in this particular shopping day continues to grow. The goal of the initiative, founded by American Express, was to help support small businesses on the biggest shopping day of the year and to welcome any business to participate–not just those that accept American Express cards.
SBS is a good idea for many reasons, and not just to find deals on items. “Eighty percent of every dollar you spend in a locally-owned business stays in the community,” says Peter Glassman, owner of Books of Wonder in New York City. “By spending money with locally-owned businesses, you keep money in your town, your city, and your neighborhood.”
Some small businesses like Cao Chocolates in Miami, Florida saw a boost of 400% in sales on SBS in 2013 and even stayed open three extra hours to accommodate high foot traffic and sales. Owner Ricardo Trillos stands to do even better this year as SBS grows and grows. “In 2014, there were 174k Small Business Saturday tweets on November 29, 2014 – last year’s official Small Business Saturday – and 356k total tweets in the month of November in 2014,” says Forbes. In 2013, there were only 147,000 tweets about SBS.
SBS is now entering its sixth year, and more than half of people polled said they were aware that the day was coming up and that they planned to do some shopping to support their local communities. It’s easy to participate in Small Business Saturday: grab lunch at a local diner or find some stocking stuffers at a gift shop. Get a new KitchenAid mixer or dining table at a local home goods store and feel good about putting money back into your own community.