Business & Economy

Push to shop at small local stores on 'Small Business Saturday'

The National Federation of Independent Business is trying to kick start sales with
The National Federation of Independent Business is trying to kick start sales with "Small Business Saturday," asking you to invest in your community by shopping local the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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The holiday shopping season has officially begun, and this year it starts with a push to focus on mom-and-pop stores for “Small Business Saturday.”

This year, a record number of shoppers are expected to head out to big box stores across the country for Black Friday. According to the National Retail Federation, for three days starting on Black Friday, 152 million people are expected to saddle up and go shopping-- a 10 percent increase from last year. Small Business Saturday, an initiative spearheaded by American Express but supported by other major companies, hopes to channel the torrent of customers away from the chains and into local businesses.

Major companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and FedEx have all contributed to the cause, donating everything from money to tutorials to free ad space. More than thirty businesses have signaled their support.

“Small business is the engine of job creation in the US economy,” said Mr. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer, American Express. “It is also among the sectors hardest hit by the recession. By spreading the word about Small Business Saturday, we can help raise awareness about the critical role small businesses play in cities and towns across the country at a time when they need support the most.”

Small Business Saturday falls right between the big retailers’ “Black Friday” and the online sellers’ click-'n'-buy “Cyber Monday.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States last year. They account for roughly 65 percent of net new jobs.

For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures, according to the small business advocacy group The 3/50 Project.

The Small Business Saturday webpage offers help to small businesses that want to create their own Facebook page, Twitter feed or YouTube video.

Although Small Business Saturday is an American Express effort, you don’t have to sign up for a credit card or even use one to buy at your local bakery or gift shop. Cash works best for them.