FREDERICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
It’s the week before Thanksgiving and you’re probably sitting at your desk, in your barely functioning office, daydreaming about the tasty goodies you’ll be inhaling this Thursday.
And, while we’re all counting down the hours until we can shut things down for the long weekend of food and family, we want to call your attention to one last matter of business before you go—Small Business Saturday.
Created as something of a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shopping holidays that more heavily support big box retailers and e-commerce sites, American Express launched Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 2010. The day is meant to encourage shoppers to support smaller, local retailers in an effort to help keep these businesses healthy and thriving.
Now as we prepare to celebrate for the 8th year, it’s easy to see how beneficial and profitable the initiative has become for small business owners across the nation.
According to American Express, billions of dollars are generated by small business owners on Small Business Saturday. In fact, in 2016, they reported that small business owners generated an estimated $15.4 billion on Small Business Saturday that year, and every year seems to generate more participation by shoppers.
And the impact in Frederick has been no different. Many retailers express that the day is important to them both because of its profitability and the opportunity it provides to connect with the community.
And, while the focus of this Saturday seems to be on independent retailers and local artisans who create items that will help shoppers fill stockings and packages for the holiday season, the initiative itself has evolved into something bigger for many communities, including ours.
Why Shopping Local Matters
Small Business Saturday is not just about shopping at the downtown toy store anymore, it has ignited this desire for communities to support each other and, in turn themselves, by not just shopping local on a single day or weekend of the year, but also by eating local, and using local services whenever possible—actions that have helped communities experience growth, vibrancy, and sustainability over the years.
Because it’s not just about helping out our neighbors –it’s much bigger than that. Shopping at local businesses, eating at local restaurants, buying local produce, using local service providers, supporting smaller, local businesses in this way doesn’t just help them, it helps all of us.
Civic Economics reported that 48% of each purchase at local, independent businesses was recirculated locally whereas only about 14% of purchases at chain stores do. That means that almost half of the money you spend at local businesses comes back to our community in the form of charitable donations, retail purchases, housing, services, and payroll.
And, yes, that means shopping local helps create jobs.
How You Can Help Small Businesses in Frederick
Even if you don’t have a long list of shopping to do this Saturday, there are plenty of ways you can support local businesses in our community this weekend and year round.
At locally owned restaurants. Bonus points for restaurants that also prepare food sourced from local ingredients.
Use locally based service providers.
Painters, plumbers, landscapers, beauticians. There are some very skilled and talented service providers who don’t work at large companies who would love to paint your house or cut your hair.
Set aside budget for local purchases.
People often lament that they don’t always buy local because they can get things cheaper at big box stores or online. First, in 2018, this isn’t always the case, and often, independent retailers are eager to help you with pricing for the promise of future business.
Also, think about just accepting this added cost when possible. You’re paying a little more in order to enjoy more personal customer service and the opportunity to support a local business. It may not be the best option for every situation, but a couple of extra bucks spent locally is often worth it.
Go to community events.
These are often organized and/or supported by local businesses and they allow business owners to get in front of you and other community members. It’s a great way to build community in general and to give small business the opportunity to engage with you and others.
Because it keeps your money in the community.
Leave positive reviews.
On Facebook, Yelp, Google–anywhere you can—if you have a positive experience. It’s important to let others know that the business is worth giving a shot.
And let them know if things don’t go well.
It’s easy to jump online and complain about an experience when things don’t go well with a company. But, a more effective approach would be to communicate your experience to the business owner directly. Let them know that you received poor customer service, that the food wasn’t great, or that the work done was sub-par. It gives them an opportunity to make an adjustment that could result in future business from you and others.
Talk about them on social media.
Social media is a powerful word of mouth marketing tool in today’s tech savvy world. If you really love the work your contractors did on your deck, snap a pic, post it on Facebook, and tag them so your friends can use them too. If you had a great meal at a local restaurant, fell in love with the new instructor at your local yoga studio, or found the perfect, unique gift for your daughter’s teacher this holiday season, post about it online. Facebook isn’t just a place to argue with your aunt about politics, it can be used for good too!
Want to learn more about Small Business Saturday in Frederick?
Follow Downtown Frederick Partnership for more info and ideas.
Copyright Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. All Rights Reserved.
118 North Market Street, Suite 200, Frederick, MD 21701
firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: (301) 662-4164
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm