Conceived by American Express in 2010, the hope of the Small Business Saturday marketing campaign has been to encourage consumers to buy at locally owned stores. American Express encouraged their customers to do so with the offer of a $25 rebate. An added benefit of the campaign has been no door busting or loss of the Thanksgiving holiday for small business owners.

Leslie Bowers, who owns a natural bath boutique in Louisville, Kentucky, Peace of Earth, notes, “One of the things – in talking to our customers – that they talked about was just the experience is much more pleasant.” Bowers was able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without concerns of Black Friday deals and hordes of sales seekers. Instead she opened her doors on Saturday to the flocks of Small Business Saturday shopping supporters. Bowers states that her sales were 4 times more than sales of normal Saturdays around this time of year.

Out of those familiar with the date, last year, only 44 percent shopped “local,” but those numbers were expected to rise to about two-thirds. Last year, over 100 million people shopped locally and the numbers on this year have just come in. According to a release by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, awareness of Small Business Saturday jumped to 67 percent this year alone. That is up from only 34 percent! Of those who knew of Small Business Saturday, 47 percent went out and shopped local. A total of $5.5 billion was spent at locally owned and independent businesses; the estimates posited that only $5.3 billion would be spent. Even more good news came out of Washington, when the Senate passed a Small Business Saturday Resolution to help inspire customers to continue to shop within their community and to raise even more awareness about the value of small business. Political representatives in all 50 states promoted Small Business Saturday, including President Obama.

The 3/50 Project, which supports local businesses, also released numbers that are an added bonus to anyone shopping locally. Out of every $100 spent at small independent stores, $68 of it stays within the local economy. In comparison, out of $100 spent at a big chain, only $43 stays within the community, and out of $100 spent online, almost nothing stays within the local community. On top of all the good news Bower adds customers “love the idea that they’re getting something that’s made locally and made by a small business.”


Tozzi, John. “No Door-Busting Required for Small Business Saturday.” Retail, Small Business. Bloomberg Businessweek. 11/26/12.

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