Over 3,000 communities and counting across the country are pledging to celebrate Small Business Saturday this year by signing up as Neighborhood Champions. With Small Business Saturday just one month away, this already exceeds the number of 2014 Neighborhood Champions, and it will continue to grow as more Champions sign up before the November 9th application deadline.
Small Business Saturday, held this year on November 28th, is celebrated on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and aims to support the small businesses that help create jobs and boost the economy in communities across the nation. Created by American Express in 2010, the day has since become part of the traditional kickoff to the busy holiday shopping season. In 2014, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $14.3 billion* with small businesses on the day, an increase of 2.1 percent from 2013, according to the 2014 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.
Neighborhood Champions, Business Organizations Share the Shop Small Message
The Neighborhood Champion program was created to inspire community participation in Small Business Saturday and to support local events and promotions held on the day. To become a Neighborhood Champion, prospective participants are asked to apply on ShopSmall.com before November 9th and share their plans to bring together local businesses to host a special event on Small Business Saturday.
To date, thousands of Neighborhood Champions from every state and Washington D.C. have signed up to celebrate and rally their communities to shop small on Small Business Saturday. As part of the program, they have access to a number of free tools and resources to help make the day a success, including event guides and marketing materials to promote their businesses on the day. Neighborhood Champions also receive Shop Small® branded merchandise such as banners, balloons and reusable shopping bags to create a festive event.
Coast to Coast: Each Year Communities Rally Together in Creative Ways
Last year, 2,786 Neighborhood Champions pledged to rally their communities to Shop Small. In 2015, communities have found engaging and original ways to engage even more local businesses, shoppers and public officials. A sneak peak of planned Neighborhood Champion events around the nation includes:
- A “Shop Small” window decorating contest for local shops in Baltimore, MD;
- A downtown dinner event featuring a meal from independently-owned restaurants in Summerville, GA;
- A shopping board game promoting multiple small businesses in Bloomington, IL;
- Sleigh rides to local businesses along with caroling in Princeton, MN;
- A citywide selfie contest encouraging shoppers to take photos in their favorite small businesses in Clinton, IA;
- A festival with a bike parade and paint-by-numbers community mural in Mar Vista, CA.
“Each year, we see more and more communities recognize the important role that small businesses play in their neighborhoods and find creative ways to celebrate them on Small Business Saturday,” said Janey Whiteside, SVP & GM Customer Marketing & Relationship Management, American Express OPEN. “With the support of our partners and thousands of Neighborhood Champions across the country, we look to continue this momentum in 2015 and for years to come.”
Small Business Saturday Coalition to Drive Support for the Day
The Small Business Saturday Coalition helps to rally communities to celebrate on November 28th. Created in 2011 and led by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the coalition is comprised of national, state and local associations that help share the Shop Small message with merchant groups, consumers and small business owners. Last year, nearly 390 organizations helped to spread the word about the day.
This year, the coalition has engaged numerous business and community revitalization organizations to help expand the Neighborhood Champion program as well as help facilitate and amplify Small Business Saturday events – including the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the International Downtown Association (IDA), The Latino Coalition, the National Main Street Center, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Small Business Saturday Supporters Help Neighborhood Champions Spread the Word
To help publicize events and promotions planned for November 28th, small businesses can take advantage of the following offers from Small Business Saturday supporters:
- FedEx – A Small Business Saturday supporter since 2010, FedEx is once again shipping Shop Small® merchandise to eligible Neighborhood Champions and small businesses free of charge while supplies last. FedEx Office is printing materials to promote the day, such as postcards and posters, included in the merchandise kits.
- Eventbrite – This year, Eventbrite is serving as a home for Small Business Saturday event listings. Local merchants have the opportunity to generate excitement for their Small Business Saturday events by publishing and promoting them on Eventbrite. Small businesses can create their own listings at www.eventbritepages.com/host.
About Small Business Saturday
November 28th marks the sixth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that help 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.