The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday. It is part of North America's most popular and busiest shopping weekend, located between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the calendar.
You will find most businesses open and advertising sales over the weekend. And while it can be hard to resist the offers available at larger retailers, Small Business Saturday is a day designed to encourage business for smaller independent retailers. You may therefore find that small businesses increase their opening times and also put on special events to attract customers this Saturday.
in 2010 America was just recovering from The Great Recession that had hit the country between December 2007 and June 2009 and left many businesses struggling. American Express began Small Business Saturday as a way to support trade for those smaller and independent companies that were still struggling to recover.
It was a success and so a year later a Resolution was introduced to The Senate In November 2011, sponsored by Senator Mary Landrieu, to recognize the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. It was approved unanimously and officially added to the calendar that year.
According to the Resolution, Small Business Saturday has two purposes:
(A) to encourage consumers to shop locally; and
(B) to increase awareness of the value of locally owned small businesses and the impact of locally owned small businesses on the economy of the United States.
The day has grown since 2011 and is now a large nationwide campaign. American Express are still involved with organizing and campaigning for the day, and part of their effort is to produce a map that customers can use to find and discover small independent businesses that have registered to be included.
Barack Obama, the US President during the creation of Small Business Saturday, supported the event by visiting different book shops each year. In 2012 he went to One More Page Books; in 2013 and 2014 he went with his daughters to Politics and Prose, A bookshop in Washington. And in 2015, President Barack Obama visited Upshur Street Books in Washington DC as well as Pleasant Pops cafe.
Other celebrities that have been vocal in their support of Small Business Saturday include Steve Harvey, Serena Williams, and Chelsea Clinton.
The Resolution that was passed in 2011 included some statistics about small businesses and their role in America's economy, such as:
- Small Businesses employ ½ of all US private sector employees.
- They create 60-80% of all new jobs.
- 92% of consumers agree that small businesses are vital to the economic health of the US.
- Small businesses pay 44% of the total payroll of private sector employees in the US.
- for every $100 spent with small independent shops, $68 gets returned to the community through local taxes, payroll, and purchases.
How to show support
The easiest way to show support on Small Business Saturday is to make a purchase from a small business near you. Perhaps you could also take the opportunity to promise yourself to support local businesses more often so that it becomes a regular habit and not just a one-off. Another easy way to help small businesses is to leave positive reviews online so that other consumers can find and support those local businesses. If you find a local business you like, share that information with a friend.
If you are a business owner you could consider applying to be included on the register of small businesses that American Express keeps.
You can also get involved on social media, hashtags including #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall are popular in America, whilst #smallbusinesseveryday is popular in Canada. So if you have a chance, share those hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and start connecting with businesses and consumers.