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Small Biz Saturday: The business case for local holiday shopping

Will you fight the temptations of Black Friday and #ShopSmall this Saturday instead?

Small Business Saturday is an unofficial holiday that was launched by American Express on November 27, 2010, intended to encourage people all across the country to purchase holiday gifts from local, small businesses. By 2011, governors, mayors, senators, and even President Obama, all voiced their support for Small Business Saturday! The rallying cause has continued to pick up steam, and in 2014, an estimated $14.3 Billion USD was spent at small, independent businesses on the day.

What’s the “shop local” fuss all about?

Maintaining a strong local economy has many benefits for the “triple bottom line” – attributes that positively affect the people, environment, and prosperity of the population. Preserving a main street or town center’s unique character, creating more jobs (which usually provide better wages and benefits), and sustaining clean, walkable town centers which reduce sprawl are just a few reasons why supporting “mom and pop” shops is valuable for the whole community.

Fast facts about shopping local

  • The U.S. imports $2.2 trillion worth of products annually from over 150 countries. Transporting global goods internationally by shipping produces one billion metric tons of CO2 and uses 11 billion gallons of fuel per year.
  • In Oklahoma City, for example, “for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, where $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves.” (This figure fluctuates by American city.)
  • The arrival of a big-box store often signals an overall loss of employment in the community. For every new Walmart that opens its doors, an average of 150 jobs will be lost in that county.
  • Locally-owned businesses usually contribute more to resident charities and fundraisers than do their national counterparts.
  • How to engage in Small Business Saturday

In 2014, 88 million people got out to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday. This year could be even bigger!

  • Are you a part of a small business? Spread the word and promote the day with these materials.
  • As a consumer, you can search for participating businesses by neighborhood, by store name, or by category such as dining, shopping, entertainment, or travel.
  • Get involved in the social action and learn more! Follow @ShopSmall on Twitter, and use hashtags #ShopSmall & #SmallBizSat, or join over 3 million people talking about the day on Facebook!

This celebration was created to help keep communities vibrant and growing, both economically and culturally. This year, why not skip the mess of Black Friday and displeasure of Cyber Monday? As American Express says, Small Business Saturday is “not just a shopping experience, it’s really more of a social experience.”