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Small Business Saturday spike big for local economies

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Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-14 07:02:22-05

Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday are going to start feeling left out.

Small Business Saturday has joined Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday as a key day on shoppers’ calendars.

Small Business Saturday began five years ago when American Express started the day to help small businesses fighting through the Great Recession to get more customers.

Shoppers are encouraged to shop at small businesses on Saturday, Nov. 29 — two days after Thanksgiving.

“They deserve this day and that to me is really what Small Business Saturday is all about is the celebration of small businesses,” said Nicole Reyhle, spokesperson for Small Business Saturday and founder of Retail Minded. “They bring so much charm and character into communities in which they reside as well as they bring so much unique inventory, unique experiences, customer care and stronger general experiences than their big box competitors for consumers to have.”

Reyhle said she became familiar with Small Business Saturday four or five years ago as a consumer and as someone who owns and works with small businesses.

In 2013, consumers spent $5.7 billion at small independent businesses that day, Reyhle said, compared to $5.5 billion in 2012.

“Every year since then it’s become more visible and more aware among consumers and small businesses alike,” she said. “Last year in 2013, it was reported that 77 percent of consumers aware of Small Business Saturday also shopped on Small Business Saturday.”

Retailers in general are expecting more spending this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. The organization is surveying people about Small Business Saturday for the first time this year.

“I think that really just speaks volumes to the level of awareness among consumers when it comes to supporting Main Street and supporting their small community businesses,” said Kathy Grannis, spokesperson for the National Retail Federation. 

The day could be impacted by how consumers treat big box stores opening earlier on Thanksgiving. Reyhle said she has seen reports showing people are not fans of the change. Small Business Saturday is different, she said.

“They’re celebrating something so different than Black Friday or Thanksgiving Thursday,” she said. “They’re celebrating more than just getting good deals. They’re celebrating an experience, customer care, a community. That’s really what Small Business Saturday is all about.”