A Publication of WTVP

First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday…now there’s Small Business Saturday.

Black Friday always kicks off the holiday shopping season with lengthy lines outside the big-box stores well before dawn and mega-mobs at the malls all day long. Then Cyber Monday brings about millions of mouse clicks as online shoppers surf their way to cyber-savings. But there’s one more thing you should think about when you’re searching for those delectable deals this holiday shopping season… think about shopping small. Small business, I mean.

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at getting consumers to spend locally. It takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which falls on November 24th this year.

Did you know that 98 percent of all businesses in Greater Peoria are considered small businesses? Or that small businesses have generated 64 percent of net new jobs nationally during the past 15 years? How about this one: Small businesses employ more than half of all private-sector workers. Or this: Eighty-five percent of new job generation comes from small businesses in any economy. Small businesses are indeed the heartbeat of America, and we must support them!

2011 was the second year for Small Business Saturday, and the majority of promotion was done via social media. The effort resulted in more than 2.6 million “Likes” on Facebook and more than 195,000 supportive tweets. National reports show that more than 100 million shoppers turned out to support Small Business Saturday last year —significantly more than the 83 million that organizers had expected. More than 500,000 small business owners utilized resources from sponsoring corporations like American Express, Twitter and Facebook that allowed them to promote themselves using online tools and promotional materials in their stores to attract new customers and reach new audiences.

Small Business Saturday Central Illinois, the local initiative, was a big part of that success, with dozens of partnering organizations helping promote the special day and hundreds of shoppers showing their support by shopping locally on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Let’s do it again this year! This Thanksgiving weekend, while you’re planning your holiday shopping excursion, think about the small, locally-owned stores, too.

Let’s make the 2012 effort even bigger and more successful than before. If you haven’t already “liked” the Small Business Saturday Central Illinois Facebook page, please do so. While you’re there, consider adding a post to show your support for the 2012 initiative. Let’s get people talking!

And don’t forget to visit the Facebook page of the Small Business Saturday national initiative, as well as, where you can find some of the success stories from last year’s campaign and see what’s new and exciting this year. iBi

To join the Small Business Saturday Central Illinois initiative, contact the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce at (309) 495-5900.