From the second I heard the faint sound of jingle bells on my TV (on Nov. 1 this year), I knew the holiday shopping season had begun.
For the past few weeks we’ve been bombarded with Black Friday commercials and email inboxes have been flooded with Cyber Monday promotions. There’s no doubt about it — the holidays are an important time for retail businesses.
However, in between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday hype you may have heard about an important alternative: Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 to encourage people across the country to support small, local businesses. Now in its sixth year, the upcoming Small Business Saturday will take place on Nov. 28.
The U.S. is home to more than 28 million small businesses. Small Business Saturday gives these businesses the opportunity to engage with holiday shoppers while setting themselves apart from the traditional big-box stores. Last year, an estimated 100 million people spent $14.3 billion at small independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to information from American Express. By shopping locally, residents support the people, businesses and ideas that make their neighborhood unique.
Within West Michigan, hundreds of small businesses will be participating in Small Business Saturday. Most participating businesses will display “Shop Small” materials in their storefront or online. Additionally, many chambers of commerce are hosting special events, or even shuttles to different shopping districts. Check with your local chamber to see what they have planned! The Shop Small Map will help you discover small businesses in your neighborhood — or better yet, grab some friends and spend a couple of hours exploring your town’s Main Street. You never know what unique items you’ll find!
Are you a small business owner who’s interested in participating? A variety of resources are available here, including customizable and printable marketing materials, social media guides and digital advertising materials. Check to see what events are planned in your neighborhood — this is a great opportunity to engage with your customers and community! Check out the #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat and #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtags on social media to follow along with the “holiday” nationwide.
Though it is important to support small businesses every day, Small Business Saturday gives shoppers and business owners a unique opportunity to connect with their local community. So, instead of racing to beat the Black Friday lines or sort through Cyber Monday emails, grab your friends and family and #ShopSmall.