Small Business Saturday Has a Ripple Effect in Local Communities Across the Country

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When consumers shop small this Saturday, it’s a big deal for locally-owned businesses that thrive from the support on this day and, really, year-round.

American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and thousands of businesses across America participate in the annual event.

Brian Beevers is the owner of Simply Local San Diego. His store is one of many small shops taking part in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 – the Saturday after Black Friday that urges consumers to spend their money shopping for holiday gifts at local, independently-owned shops rather than big box retailers.

"Shopping local has a ripple effect across everything," he told NBC 7. "First off, you’re supporting a local artist that spends a lot of hours and time on each product. Not only do you have a product that’s built with so much more love than a manufactured item, you have a product that’s supporting a family, directly. You have a product that is only locally-found; you have a product that is actually creating shops like this that support many artists."

In San Diego, California, North Park Main Street Association spokesperson Angela Landsberg said the point of shopping small is quite simple: “Shopping local keeps your money local.”

And, she said, the benefits are far-reaching.

“North Park businesses employ local and it’s better for the environment to shop local. There are so many reasons why shopping local is where it’s at,” she added.

Stores in Lincoln Square, a community in Chicago, are pulling out all the stops this holiday season to get shoppers off the couch and into retailers by creating immersive, exhilarating experiences, complete with Christmas carolers, bands, and a tree lighting ceremony.

Scott Friedland, the owner of Timeless Toys Chicago, says he expects sales to quadruple sales over a normal Saturday because of the event, and says that “Small Business Saturday” has helped grow his business.

“We’re here to find what the best toy is for the child you’re shopping for, and not just what the most popular toy is,” he said.

In the age of Amazon and Cyber Monday deals, Arla Rosmarin from Milford, Connecticut prefers to do her holiday shopping the old fashion way.

 "You can see everything and you can touch it actually and feel if the fabric is soft and they have unique things," she added.

In Coral Gables, Florida, Jeffrey Wolfe of Wolfe's Wine Shop said, "When you buy a bottle of wine from me I get to keep socks on my kids...I get to give them guitar lessons...it's keeping money in the community, but also supporting my family." 

Merrimack Valley, a bi-state region in New Hampshire and Massachusetts is counting on its community to help them bounce back after a series of gas explosions in September.

NECN spoke to the president of Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, Joe Bevilacqua, a few months ago about how the gas explosions have impacted the local economy.

"You literally have shut down the economies of three communities," Bevilacqua said. "The employees are losing paychecks. Taxes aren't being paid, mostly because people aren't working. Purchases of goods and services aren't being made so you're losing sales tax as a form of revenue."

“This is all about community, and being able to go and support people we love and know,” said Kristi Soto, a shopper in Dallas, Texas.

A new economic study commissioned by American Express says that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the local community.

Since Small Business Saturday started, U.S. customers have reported spending an estimated total of $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants.

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