When driving into work this morning, I heard an advertisement on ESPN Radio for something called Small Business Saturday. Kind of ironic, given that ESPN belongs to one of the biggest corporations in America, the whole Disney-ABC juggernaut, but that’s beside the point.
This was the first I’d heard of this newly minted holiday, the little guys’ much-more-humane answer to the dreaded Black Friday—and I gotta say, I’m stoked on the idea. Having both a father and a sister who work for gigantic retail corporations, I know the pains that Black Friday brings to those who must go to bed at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving in order to be up and at ’em by 2 a.m. Friday to greet the throngs of coupon-wielding crazies camped out on the pavement.
Launched by American Express (again, slightly ironic), Small Business Saturday on November 27 is just as it sounds: a day to celebrate and patronize the small and local outlets that drive our communities. There are no door-buster sales or limited supplies of Guitar Hero for the first 20 customers to fight over--just a good, solid reminder to shop small.
Cruising around the event’s website and Facebook page reveals some really cool and intriguing stats and information. For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains in the community, while only $43 of every $100 dollars spent at a chain store stays local. In addition, every year for the last decade, 60 percent to 80 percent of new jobs were generated by small businesses. The event’s Facebook page has been the fastest growing page, with more than 850,000 “likes” in two weeks time. And for every “like” up to 1 million, American Express donates $1 to the nonprofit Girls Inc., on top of the $50,000 the AmEx has already donated.
Even though this holiday is in its infancy, the fervor behind it seems astounding. So enjoy a festive Thanksgiving with friends and family, rest up while the big-box stores get barnstormed and gear up for what could be a smashing day of business.