First there was Independent Bookstore Day, then we had Free Comic Book Day, then Small Business Week, and now Small Business Saturday is coming up so all indie retailers should get ready to entice new customers. In case you haven’t heard, Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. American Express, the credit card company, created this holiday in 2010 to support the little businesses that keep our nation running. American Express cardholders also get money back for their purchases at participating stores.
Small Business Saturday not only helps the economy, but also helps the businesses that participate. According to the Small Business Administration, in 2016, an estimated 112 million Americans spent a combined $15.4 billion at independent neighborhood retailers and restaurants, a 13 percent increase from 2015. BeBodySmart.com, an e-commerce retailer that sells all kinds of athletic apparel and fitness equipment, saw great success due to Small Business Saturday promotion. CEO Shahzad Paul told Grasshopper that Small Business Saturday brought in a whopping 900 new customers. The success of this holiday speaks for itself.
Independent businesses aren’t the only ones who are participating in this shopping frenzy weekend. Cities and towns across the country are working together to create a family-fun day for all. The city of New Haven, CT is offering specials during the day such as complimentary two-hour parking for 200 parking spots marked with ‘shop small’ meter bags downtown. Shops will also have festive events and promotions including an ice-carving demonstration and free popcorn at INFO New Haven Visitors Center.
The town of Fairfield, CT is also celebrating with Santa Claus’s arrival by hook-and-ladder coming down Reef Road at 10am. He will sit in the gazebo until approximately 2pm. The children’s petting zoo will be available from 10am to 1pm, as well as horse and buggy rides and food trucks. New this year, the Fairfield Theater Company will be showing ‘Frozen – The Sing-Along Edition’ from 1pm to 3pm. The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce will give out “I Love Fairfield” button pins, along with “Shop Local” items from the town, including canvas bags.
Results from the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express showed that 59 percent of U.S. consumers said they are likely to seek out a small, independently owned retailer when shopping online on SBS. NFIB also released a Small Business Saturday 50-State Survey and found that 73 percent of consumers reportedly shopped at small, independently owned retailers and restaurants on SBS and did so with friends or family.
Why buy local? Small businesses donate 250 percent more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes; if you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy, whereas spending the same at a large business only $43 stays in the local economy. Even if consumers don’t necessarily participate on SBS, this annual event still sheds light on indie retailers everywhere and it’s still getting the word out. Start planning your Small Business Saturday events now, and connect with other participating businesses in your area by visiting www.sba.gov.