I'm re-running a post from last week below to let you know why Small Business Saturday is so important (and to let you see that nifty infographic again). But I thought I'd add a quick list of why you should shop local.
1. Suport your community - your friends and neighbors who own local businesses
2. Get great deals
3. Free $25 courtesy of American Express.
4. Support your local economy - dollars spent at small local businesses stay in the local economy. Dollars spent at big box retailers do not.
5. Get outside and walk around your town - good for your health both mental and emotional.
6. Make new friends - while you are out and about why not make a point of getting to know a new person in your town - even if you've lived there for 50 years there's always someone new to meet.
Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for small businesses to get some additional business in the peak holiday shopping period. It is basically a special day that American Express picked to provide a focal point for encouraging consumers to go and shop at local small businesses. But despite the clear marketing tie-in it is more than that - it's an opportunity for people to really back their own community in a difficult economic time and to also give something back to the community they live in. It's easy to dismiss this kind of thing as 'touch-feely' marketing designed to make people feel good but not really of any value. But it is much more than that. It has been shown that spending a dollar at a locally-owned small business keeps that dollar locally and recirculates it whereas spending the same dollar at a 'big box' or multinational takes most of the value of that dollar out of the local community. In addition it is acknowledged that small businesses are the heartblood of the American economic engine and they are struggling.
So let's turn it around. Why NOT shop locally on Small Business Saturday? Sure you might be able to get a lower price - slightly - by shopping mail order but you are only saving a small amount and American Express is even prepared to make it up to you a bit. American Express is prepared to offer $25 statement credits for shopping using an Amex card at a qualifying small business. See the website for details, but the important specifics are that you HAVE to register your card(s) at the site and enrollment opens at 12:00AM MST ("Mountain Standard Time") on November 18, 2012, and will continue until 11:59PM MST on November 24, 2012 unless the enrollment limit is reached sooner. You can find out about qualifying small businesses at the site as well. And if you are a small business that wants to participate - I'm not sure if there is still time, but the offer is open to businesses that take the Amex card through Square's payment services.
Here are the benefits as I see it to Small Business Saturday - you get to explore local small businesses, you contribute to the community, you save money, you contribute to the overall US economy in a more beneficial way, you get to feel smug. And here are the negatives - the only one is if local small businesses don't take part.
And if YOU are a local small business owner - the site also has tons of marketing materials, ideas and plans to help you promote the event and get the word out.