In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday, a national campaign to encourage consumers to “shop small” by patronizing local small businesses. Five years later, this day—which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday—is establishing itself as a holiday tradition, garnering support from the Small Business Administration, media, politicians, corporations, communities and, most importantly, consumers.
“The Shop Small Movement motivates people to shop with and support the small businesses that are so crucial to our local economy,” says Jeff Griffin, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce president. “Millions of individuals, businesses and communities have embraced Small Business Saturday as a national movement.”
According to a 2013 survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday has consistently increased since its inception. Not only has awareness increased, so has consumers’ willingness to open their wallets to support brick-and-mortar, mom-and-pop shops for the day. Consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent an estimated $5.7 billion at independent merchants that day last year, a 3.6 percent increase from 2012.
With nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States, small business is big business, even in central Illinois. The Metro Centre in Peoria, home to an assortment of small businesses, helps its tenants make the most of Small Business Saturday. “We encourage all of our businesses to participate,” says Metro Centre President Eric Brinker, “and we promote Small Business Saturday on social media, on our signs, and take advantage of all of the materials provided by American Express.”
American Express provides businesses with marketing materials, such as printable signage, social media templates and logos, to help promote the cause. To help consumers find participating businesses, the American Express “Shop Small” website offers a searchable map where consumers can enter their zip codes. There are five major categories—dining, shopping, entertainment, travel and services—to select for more tailored results.
While its success ultimately depends on consumers’ willingness to support the cause through their purchases, local business and tourist organizations strive to do their part in making it a success. “The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with our central Illinois coalition of chambers, convention and visitors’ bureaus and local small business owners to make Small Business Saturday a success,” Griffin notes. iBi
Small Business Saturday takes place on November 29, 2014. Visit americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small for more information, or find it on Facebook.