Small businesses across the United States get a big boost each year through Small Business Saturday, which falls on Nov. 28 this year. Here’s the background on how and why the event started.
Celebrating 10 Years
Small Business Saturday was first observed on Nov. 27, 2010. According to Wikipedia, the event was created by American Express in partnership with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Boston-based nonprofit Roslindale Village Main Street. Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Busines Saturday was meant to serve as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Gaining Quick Traction
The inaugural event was held while the nation was battling back from a recession. On the American Express website, the company said that the mission of Small Business Saturday was to aid small businesses that served as the core of local neighborhoods. The following year, the shop small movement had gained momentum and the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2011 in support of Small Business Saturday.
Support and Participation Grow
According to the Farm Bureau Financial Services website, in 2012 American Express encouraged small-business owners to promote their businesses, and the credit card company offered small-business owners free, personalized ads to spread over the internet. That year, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent across the nation at independent businesses. By 2013, neighborhoods began celebrating the day and pledging support to local businesses and organizations.
Awareness Increases Each Year
Participation in Small Business Saturday continues to grow year after year. Figures compiled by Farm Bureau Financial Services indicate that more than 95 million people shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2015 and spending reached $16.2 billion. In 2016, Small Business Saturday reached record highs, with 72% of U.S. consumers aware of the day and an estimated 112 million shoppers.
Why It’s Important
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up more than 99% of all businesses in the nation and employ more than 47% of the private workforce. While large chain retailers and online marketplaces get their due in the post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping rush, Small Business Saturday draws attention to the importance of small businesses and highlights their vital impact on local communities.