How Did Small Business Saturday Begin? This Lesser-Known Holiday Is An Important One

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMVER 28: President Barack Obama buys books for his daughters Malia and Sasha at Upshur Books Store during Small Business Saturday on November 28, 2015, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
Source: Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

As the holiday season approaches, there are a few lesser-known days that are worth acquainting yourself with. Like Small Business Saturday: A registered trademark of the American Express Corporation, Small Business Saturday began in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010. The mayor of Boston partnered with the corporation to take a localized advantage of the annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy. It was a humble effort to support the local trades rally the community. On a weekend when everyone's looking to spend, small businesses were being left in the dust for the larger national retailers, missing out on a perfectly good opportunity to service their communities. 

This is when American Express, according to their site, saw an opening for a retail opportunity that would harness that spending momentum and push it towards the brick and mortar stores that were a part of the city's historic identity. After all, what is a small town without its unique local trades and resources? And while the Small Business Saturday started in a small town, it's now spread across the country and been warmly embraced by boutiques and mom n' pop shops alike.

When Twitter jumped in, free advertising for the budding holiday, it really began to take off. What started as a local experiment quickly spread into a tradition that's observed nationally. The hashtag #ShopSmall has also been a big help in getting people involved and interested in the new holiday — we can credit millennials for helping spread the word and increasing the popularity it. While getting great deals on flat screen TVs feels good, helping out your community by supporting small business feels better, as it turns out. Now, hundreds of millions of people participate in the shopping event, and small businesses are seriously feeling the support. 

In 2015, Small Business Saturday brought in over 16 billion dollars in revenue, a 14 percent increase from the previous year. That said, the amount of support this holiday lends small businesses is quickly becoming something to rely on. The sales alone from the holiday help to balance out positive annual accounting. So not only does supporting the holiday support your local businesses, but it supports the foundation of your local community. The more successful small businesses are, the more opportunity there is for local goods. 

By saving your spending dollars for Small Business Saturday, you're directly strengthening your local economy, a notion that's not made possible by those chain store flat screen purchases. And while there's nothing wrong with going big on Black Friday, try to save a little change for your local businesses and support them on Saturday. A little bit goes a long way. And don't forget to tweet, Facebook or Instagram your Small Business Saturday retail adventures to help the word to continue to spread and to keep the momentum of the movement going. 

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