This holiday season retailers received their own
gifts a little early as major movements across
the country continued to spotlight the importance
of shopping local. Even American Express got in
the act with its Small Business Saturday program
launched in November.
The advantages of consumers spending a portion
of their dollars at local, independent retailers for
the holidays are significant. According to the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce-Small Business Nation,
small businesses account for 75 percent of all new
jobs in the United States. Further, when you spend
$100 at an independent business, $68 returns to
the local community, according to Civil Economics-Andersonville Study of Retail Economics. These
types of statistics emphasize the importance of
buying local, for both consumers and independent
This year, American Express launched an initiative
encouraging Americans to spend some of their
holiday dollars in small, local stores by declaring
the Saturday after Thanksgiving “Small Business
Saturday.” American Express launched a Facebook
page ( facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday)
to celebrate the event and plans to continue
promoting small business events throughout the
year. The event drew so much attention – more
than 1 million fans on Facebook and plenty of
media hits – that American Express extended the
offer to give $25 back to cardmembers who register and use their card at a small business any day
through the end of the year. All small businesses
that accept Amex are automatically enrolled.
There were additional bonuses offered for the
post-Thanksgiving event. The first 10,000
businesses that signed up on Facebook received
$100 in Facebook advertising. Additionally, for
everyone who “likes” the Small Business Saturday
Facebook page, Amex will donate $1 (up to $500,000)
to help girls learn about entrepreneurship.
There are several independent organizations across
the country in support of the small business owner.
Two gathering press attention and guerilla marketing
The 3/50 Project Created by Cinda Baxter of
Minneapolis in 2009, the program celebrates
shopping local by impressing on consumers that
they are investing their dollars in locally owned businesses, which, in turn,
improves their customer service. The project supplies access to resources such
as predesigned posters and postcards, movie theater ads and more. Check
them out at www.the350project.net.
Independent We Stand More than 9,000 local business owners across
the country have joined the Independent We Stand movement in order to
share these and other benefits of shopping at locally owned stores. For more
information, to pledge your support for locally owned businesses, or to register
your own business in the database, visit www.IndependentWeStand.org or
see some of the businesses at www.youtube.com/independentwestand.
How are you and your fellow community business leaders telling your story?
Tell us about your shop local efforts – e-mail your stories, photos and videos