This Saturday is Small Business Saturday! It’s your opportunity to support local merchants that are the backbone of our communities as you shop for the holidays. This "small" can provide a "big" deal for you and your community!
American Express created and launched the first-ever Small Business Saturday on November 27, 2010, to encourage people across the country to support local businesses. The following year the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution to make the day official. By 2012, government officials from every state recognized and promoted this new found day of commerce.
Small Business Saturday is always the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, which means it falls directly between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which focus on larger retailers and e-commerce respectively, Small Business Saturday is all about your small independent merchants.
While Black Friday remains the largest consumer shopping day, the popularity of Small Business Saturday has increased every year since its beginning. Last year (2015), approximately 95 million consumers participated, and according to the National Federation of Independent Business, spent over $16.2 billion!
Big Support of Shop Small
From the beginning, American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day by helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appear millions of times across the Internet. In addition, American Express provided marketing kits to various organizations to rally their neighborhoods.
The Chamber of Commerce in Seymour, Indiana, is one such recipient. Each year the Chamber divides the marketing kits among local businesses. According to Tricia Bechman, Chamber President, the kits include door mats, canvas bags, signs, banners, and balloons. Past kits have even included American Express gift cards to use for promotion.
Benefits of Shopping Local
According to the 2012 Census Bureau data, there are over five million small businesses in the United States, each employing less than 20 people. When you spend your holiday shopping dollars in your local independent stores, those dollars also benefit your community. Economic studies indicate that $45 of every $100 spent in a local independent business stays in the community versus only about $13 out of $100 spend at a national chain.
When you support the local retailers, you are also supporting their owners who live in your community and, in turn, often provide leadership for community endeavors, support local charities, and participate in local government.
What’s in it for you?
In addition to the satisfaction of supporting local businesses, you can find some great bargains on Small Business Saturday. For information, Google your local shopping areas for general information and your favorite stores for specific discounts.
There’s also a benefit for American Express card holders. You can earn two times the reward points for using your American Express credit card when shopping at local merchants through December 31. To participate, you must enroll for this benefit on the American Express website.
What’s on sale in Indy?
Many retail shops, professional services, chefs and bakers, artisans, and vendors throughout the area are ready to welcome you at their regular locations. Many of them, as well as those without a fixed location, are participating in pop-up shops and special events.
There are over 700 small businesses in the Broad Ripple Village. Brooke Klejnot, executive director of the Broad Ripple Village Association said, "Small businesses create our identity as a neighborhood and Cultural District and make Broad Ripple a special place to live, work and visit."
For the first time ever, to celebrate the day, the Broad Ripple community has come together to invite over sixty artisans, crafters, makers, entrepreneurs and small business owners to participate in five different pop-up shops.
Mass Ave got an early start by sponsoring the Midnight Shopper event last Friday. Many of those same businesses are gearing up for this Saturday. "We are planning a full day of events including swag bags, food trucks, and entertainment along Mass Ave." says Eric Strickland, executive director of Riley Area Development Corp.
If you are not able to visit the stores in person, check online. Many local businesses are offering discounts for online shoppers as well.
Last week we showed you how to budget and make a holiday shopping plan. This week we want to encourage you to take that plan and support your favorite local merchants and the new ones you discover on Small Business Saturday.
Contributions were made to this article by Ryan Jeffries, CFP, a Financial Planning Manager at Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc.
Elaine E. Bedel, CFP, is CEO and president of Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc., a wealth management firm located in Indianapolis. She is a featured guest each Wednesday on the WTHR (NBC, Indianapolis) Channel 13 News at Noon, "Your Money" segment. Elaine’s book, "Advice You Never Asked For… But wished you had," is available on Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.BedelFinancial.com or email Elaine at email@example.com.