Small Business Saturday – Shop Small, Dine Small

The holiday shopping season has begun. While Black Friday used to be the main event, days like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are targeting those after a non wait-in-line-at-4:00 a.m. shopping experience.

Tomorrow marks the fourth annual Small Business Saturday. While Black Friday conjures images of deep discounts at big-box retailers, SBS reminds shoppers to think local when purchasing holiday gifts.

“Small Business Saturday is a way of promoting the idea that we want to think about our small businesses and how important they are in our economy,” says Martin Golden, Columbus district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Small businesses are extremely important to Ohio’s economy. Ninty-eight percent of firms in Ohio are small businesses that employ almost 50 percent of the workforce. The designated shopping day is a reminder that these businesses matter. The health of a community is linked to its small business climate because revenue dollars from these companies are more likely to stay in the local economy. They also help make a community unique.

“In an area where we have increasing duplication of big box concepts, it’s important to keep an idea that we want to have these small businesses as part of our community,” Golden says. “The diversity of our communities depends on a healthy small business community.”

The small business community is more than just retailers. Starting this year, the SBA is encouraging consumer to think of other kinds of small businesses on a shopping-heavy day with a tagline of “Shop small, dine small.”

In partnership with the National Restaurant Association, Small Business Saturday Night encourages consumers to spend the day shopping local then end their day dining at a local restaurant.

“It’s just another way for us to partner with organizations to promote the idea of supporting small business,” Golden says. Many small businesses are restaurants or other establishments that depend on sales at night. The new campaign drives awareness to the evening hours to encourage local sales throughout the day.

Research shows that the SBS movement is gaining popularity. Golden provides statistics stating of those who are aware of SBS, about half participated, providing a $5.7 billion bump to local businesses across the country.

“I would like to encourage people to take Nov. 29 to remember the importance of small businesses to the national economy and especially the communities in which we live,” Golden says. “Please show your support for the half of American workers who either own or work for a small business. These are the businesses that will have the unique gift you are looking for, the unique dining experience, and where your dollars will most help your community stay strong.”

The SBA’s website contains a number of resources that small businesses can use to bolster their marketing efforts for SBS as well as the rest of the holiday season. Business owners will find tips for creative holiday marketing as well as promoting their business on a budget. They can also find information on SBA’s year-round resources. Visit the American Express website for a map of Small Business Saturday participants.