You’ve heard of Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day and Cyber Monday. Now there’s another post-Thanksgiving shopping event. Small Business Saturday is a new initiative, meant to give independent shops a boost.
If Black Friday is all about big box stores, national chains and rock-bottom prices, Small Business Saturday is the opposite.
“This is supporting stores that are really authentic and have one-of-a-kind merchandise that these merchants hand pick,” says Mari Mullen, Executive Director of Port Townsend’s Main Street Program, a downtown revitalization effort led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
She says the Trust has teamed up with American Express Open to launch a social media campaign encouraging people all over the country to spend money at independent businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“It really just highlights the fact that many of our communities are comprised of small business owners and entrepreneurs. So there’s the Facebook page that they’ve made and it’s just really gotten a huge amount of traffic.”
Nearly a million people have “liked” the Facebook page, which is set up by American Express and the National Trust. They’re also helping shop-owners use Facebook to market to customers.
Port Townsend is one of three Main Street communities nationwide to be showcased during Small Business Saturday. They’ll be handing out branded shopping totes and t-shirts and raffling off American Express gift cards during their annual holiday open house.
Small business owners like the recognition they’re getting. Susan Windle owns Forest Gems Gallery in Port Townsend.
”If you’re supporting your small business, you’re also supporting a neighbor -- which if they can stay in business, they can keep their house. Keeping local keeps our neighbors paying their bills as well,” she says.
The Small Business Saturday campaign says for every $100 spent in local, independent stores and restaurants, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other spending. That’s about 25% more than money spent at national chains.