Small Business Saturday
Growing up in a small town, ma’ and pa’ shops were a dime a dozen, and I LOVED that! I may be a little bias due to the fact that my dad owns a small restaurant but that taught me the importance of shopping local. When American Express introduced Small Business Saturday in 2010? Well, I thought that was the smartest marketing move that they could have made.
If I have learned anything over the years of watching my dad’s business it is that people love to say that they shop local, but they primarily shop at big box retailers. But once a year, right after people trample over each other at Toys-R-Us on Black Friday, people come together to “shop small” and I think that is really important.
The more people know about why it is important to shop local, I believe that people would do it more. But before we get into the reasons why it has always been important to shop local, let’s start with a brief history of Small Business Saturday.
The Years of Small Business Saturday
This day was started as a marketing campaign by AMEX in 2010. The idea was that on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, communities would go back out to support local businesses and be rewarded by AMEX.
In 2011 the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday. This made the holiday OFFICIAL! J
Then in 2012 we see a huge soar in popular knowledge of this day. That year, over $5.5 Billion was spent at small businesses! WooHoo!!
2013 is when we are introduced to what we refer to as Neighborhood Champions. 1,450 organizations publicly support Small Business Saturday.
AMEX did another big push for their created holiday in 2014. This time they included free ads for small businesses that would be posted on the internet. Sales on Small Business Saturday this year skyrocketed to over $14 billion!
The next year was just a growing year, Over $16 billion was sold on Small Business Saturday! And the Registered Neighborhood Champions was now over 4,100 in the US!
Last year was the year that Small Business Saturday blew up on social media! Over 250,000 posts throughout the month and nearly half of those coming on Saturday after Thanksgiving!
Why Shop Local
If you aren’t sure how shopping local is beneficial for you, I can give you a few reasons.
1. Your local economy
67% of jobs in the US come from small businesses. This means that by spending money at these stores you help keep their doors open and help these employees keep their jobs. And since these are people who live locally in your community, you should care about that!
Not to mention, 68% of your money stays local when you shop local. When you shop at national companies only 43% of your money stays local! That matters! That is less than 50 cents of every dollar that gets put back into your community. The rest of it goes off to their corporate office in another area, distributers across the US, and even their out of country suppliers.
2. The Environment
People sometimes forget how items get to stores. Toys are not made by elves in the back room of a Toys-R-Us, they are shipped across the country and often times even overseas. This emits a HUGE amount of CO2 and leaves behind a GIANT carbon footprint. But when you buy chocolate from your local candy store, the carbon footprint is miniscule in comparison.
The great thing about local businesses is that lots of times, they shop local! Many businesses buy from local farmers markets and farms that produce the products they need locally. Yes, they do still have to order some things to be delivered. The difference is that it would be coming from somewhere in the US and probably their state or surrounding states.
3. Giving back
If you your local economy and the world’s environment can’t convince you, maybe some good old fashioned non-profit work will tip you over the edge.
While small businesses of course make less annually than major corporations, they give a lot more of their earnings to charity! According to Sue Lynn Sasser, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Central Oklahoma, “Studies show that nonprofits receive 250% more support from small businesses than large ones.”
So you can not only feel good about the fact that your money is staying local within your own community, but it is also going towards good causes such as non-profits.
Even if you don’t care about where your money is going, try looking at local businesses for unique items! Especially around the holidays, major stores will sell thousands of the same exact item and then everyone in your town ends up wearing the same red sweater.
Shopping local, the quantity is limited and they will often have products that you cannot find at major chains!
I have found some of the best Christmas presents at local boutiques. And my family members are always surprised that I find things that they have never seen in stores or online before! It is a great way to give a gift that not everyone else will receive. And honestly I find way better deals at local shops than I ever do at big box retailers!
BONUS* Over 9 million small businesses are owned by women!