Saturday, November 26, 2016 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. Small Business Saturday is a shopping concept that encourages consumers to complete their holiday shopping at small, local businesses. Eco-friendly small businesses now comprise a significant portion of the Small Business Saturday segment.
Originally piloted by American Express, the occasion was officially recognized by the U.S. Senate in 2011. When individuals shop in their own communities, they support local families instead of corporations. Indeed, when a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community. In fact, one Chicago study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city, while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer.
And when shoppers take the extra step to make conscious decisions to buy at businesses that promote a sustainable worldview, they join in with a dedicated constituent group who actively seeks to save the planet.
Small business and Main Streets are the key to walkability and urbanity. In Pittsburgh, for example, more than 200 small business owners have achieved the Sustainable Small Business Designation and are celebrating that status on Small Business Saturday.
Sustainability goals within Small Business Saturday take consumers away from large, impersonal big-box retailers and introduce them to the people doing business in sustainable ways in their very own cities and towns. As people shop in less familiar spaces within their local area, they meet local farmers, craftspeople, antiques dealers, artisans, chefs, and other product providers with items made locally, sustainably, and sold on a small scale.
They learn about the farm-to-table movement. They gain access to fruits and vegetables that are chemical free. They have the opportunity to choose cage-free eggs and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day. There hear about the benefits to eating raw local honeys, which are thought to help battle allergies. And this food emphasis is just the start!
When consumers support local business owners, they enjoys benefits they can’t get from shopping at national chains. And, possibly most importantly, they interact with the people behind the sustainability businesses, which opens up opportunities to gain connections and knowledge about ecology they might not have access to otherwise.
According to USA Today, in 2015, 95 million customers spent $16.2 billion in small and local retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday. Some credit for this success has to go to the Neighborhood Champion program. “Last year we had more than 4,100 Neighborhood Champions participate,” said Amy Marino, vice president of Small Business Saturday at American Express. “They reached over 1.3 million small businesses in all 50 states.” Neighborhood Champions commit to organizing events to support Small Business Saturday.
Want to see what cities and towns around the U.S. are doing for their own Small Business Saturday celebrations? Check out this rally page!
Photo Credit: Small Business Saturday