More than two thousand communities are committing to rally their neighborhoods to celebrate Small Business Saturday this holiday season.
Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday (November 29th), held every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, was created by American Express in 2010 to support the small businesses that create jobs and boost the economy. Since its inception, Small Business Saturday has served as the ceremonial kickoff to the busy holiday shopping season for independently-owned businesses.
Just as important, it has driven high visibility and appreciation for the unique role that small businesses play in local communities. In 2013, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion with independent merchants on the day, an increase of 3.6% from the previous year.*
Neighborhood Champions, Business Organizations Help Spread the Word
The Neighborhood Champion program was created to help inspire communities to participate in the day and support local Small Business Saturday celebrations throughout the country. To become part of the program, prospective Neighborhood Champions, were required to share their plans to bring together at least 10 businesses in their community to recognize the day and commit to serve as ambassadors, encouraging friends and family to shop small.
To date, more than 2,000 Neighborhood Champions from every state, and the District of Columbia, have signed up to celebrate Small Business Saturday in 2014. As part of the program, businesses have access to a number of resources to help make their Small Business Saturday events a success, including event guides and marketing materials to promote their involvement. They also will receive ‘Shop Small’ branded merchandise like buttons, balloons and tote bags to decorate their stores and offer to shoppers.
To help facilitate and amplify local Small Business Saturday events, American Express has also partnered with numerous business organizations – including the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the International Downtown Association, the Latino Coalition, the National Main Street Center, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).
“This year, we’ve expanded the Neighborhood Champion program to include even more partners to help spread the message of shopping small and supporting local businesses,” said Lisette Bernstein, Vice President of Small Business Saturday at American Express. “We’re thrilled to see communities in all 50 states and Washington D.C. embrace Small Business Saturday and anticipate this year will be the biggest yet for small businesses.”
In 2013, nearly 1,500 Neighborhood Champions from Hawaii to Maine planned events and activities to support small businesses in their area and highlighted the importance of shopping locally. In the end, millions of shoppers – including President Obama – championed the day.
A snapshot of 2014 Neighborhood Champion events include:
- A regional “shopping tour” highlighting different shopping districts in Portland, OR;
- A fashion show featuring merchandise from local businesses in Hollidaysburg, PA;
- A block party with giveaways and live music in Starke, FL;
- A tree lighting ceremony and chili cook-off in Idaho Falls, ID;
- A holiday festival with horse-drawn carriage rides and visits from Santa in McKinney, TX.
Premier Partners Help Small Business Owners Prepare for the Big Day
Small business owners can take advantage of exclusive offers from Small Business Saturday Premier Partners to help promote their businesses and their events on November 29th:
This year, Eventbrite, the marketplace for live events, will serve as the online hub for Neighborhood Champion activities. Event organizers can use Eventbrite to plan, promote and invite the community to Small Business Saturday events within their community. Offer terms apply and are available here.
- FedEx Office
FedEx is a strong supporter of Small Business Saturday. FedEx is shipping Small Business Saturday merchandise to small business owners and Neighborhood Champions free of charge. Additionally, FedEx will spread the word about Small Business Saturday to businesses and consumer through social media and marketing channels. Also, FedEx Office is offering to print two free copies of the 11” x 17” printed poster available at ShopSmall.com to help small business with their marketing efforts. Offer terms apply and are available here.
Microsoft is offering $100 in Bing Ad credits to small business owners to get the word out about their businesses. Small business owners can also prepare for Small Business Saturday with a Microsoft digital education pack containing online marketing tips and tricks. In addition, they can also attend one of the education seminars to be hosted at select Microsoft retail locations across the country. Offer terms apply and are available here.
Yelp is offering $100 in Yelp advertising credits to help small businesses grow their online exposure. In addition, small business owners can access a suite of free tools to maximize their online presence at biz.yelp.com. Offer terms apply and are available here.
About Small Business Saturday
November 29th marks the fifth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers.