Started in 2010 by the internationally known business American Express, Small Business Saturday has caught on in almost every small town in America. An equivalent to the traditions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages individuals to support their local area by spending their holiday money in their local town. The new tradition has been picked up by small entrepreneurs and business owners across the nation and has become a call to action every Saturday after Thanksgiving since its inception.
A study performed by the economic development consultancy Civic Economics, shows that for every $100 spent in a locally owned business $68 stays in the local economy compared to just $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business. Across the board, locally owned businesses keep their money in the local economy by purchasing local goods including marketing, accounting services, supplies, community donations, wages and of course local taxes.
According to the second annual Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released earlier this November by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, 70% of independent merchants say Small Business Saturday will be helpful in attracting new customers. While 67% of business owners will offer discounts on items that day and 36% will offer coupons for future discounts, another 39% are planning to collaborate with other small businesses to promote Small Business Saturday Together.
The personalized attention to detail and individualized service can also be a welcomed relief from the big box store holiday experience. Teri Carter of EcoChic, a downtown Milford boutique that offers a selection of earth-friendly apparel, cosmetics and other products, customizes each of her clients shopping experience to offer a unique service for every individual. By using the store’s point of sale system Teri is able to record and track the preferences of her customers.
“By knowing what our customers have purchased we begin to learn preferences for each specific individual. This allows us to make recommendations based on their past experiences with us, ” commented Carter. “We also create wish lists for our customers so that someone coming in to shop for them has the ability to see what items they have their eye on.”
Another intangible factor that many studies fail to realize is the personal investment and interest many local businesses have in seeing their local community grow and prosper. The desire to see a flourishing active town becomes not just a sense of pride but a urgency of livelihood.
“The local community’s prosperity and wellbeing is a vital part of every downtown, we work very hard to support many community events and fundraisers and hope that Milford continues to develop and grow, enticing more visitors to the area to see a wonderful close and supportive community,” commented Lorna Petchey of Blooming Boutique. “Milford is a very special town and has a positive community base that with support and drive will continue to flourish.”
When deciding how to spend those precious holiday dollars shoppers should not only remember that when products are purchased from locally-owned stores, more money stays in the local economy. They should also take into account the personalized service and the owner’s personal investment in a successful local community. Small Business Saturday will take place on Saturday, November 30 with almost every locally-owned business offering some sort of holiday specials to encourage local support. Be sure to support local businesses by looking for them on Facebook, viewing their websites and giving them a call in preparation for Saturday.