Small Business Saturday is a great way to not only find unique holiday gifts, but often at quite significant discounts.
You most likely have no memories of being a little kid and going with your parents to the Saturday Small Business Sales. That’s because as far as a shopping holiday goes, Small Business Saturday is pretty new. It’s also a great way to not only find unique holiday gifts, but ones at pretty significant discounts as well.
And when is Small Business Saturday? This year, it is November 26, 2022.
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What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday created to inspire consumers to shop local at mom-and-pop stores. Invented by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday that has been embraced by small businesses across the country. In fact, in 2011, the Senate, recognizing the importance of small businesses to the economy, unanimously passed a resolution supporting Small Business Saturday. The hope was to encourage holiday spending and stimulate job growth.
Small Business Saturday falls the day after Black Friday, when retailers tend to go all-out and offer deep discounts to entice shoppers to stock up for the holidays. Small Business Saturday is basically the standalone business version of what major brands do on Black Friday and what online retailers try to capitalize on during Cyber Monday, the big day of online shopping on the Monday after Black Friday. In general, Small Business Saturday is a day where deals are often found at small businesses to encourage consumers to move away from online shopping and support their neighborhoods and communities.
So if you’re looking to secure the best deals on Small Business Saturday and contribute to your local economy, here are some ideas for getting the most out of small business shopping at independent retailers in your neighborhood.
Scout deals in advance
If you show up in any downtown area in any town or city on Small Business Saturday, you’re likely to find some bargains and sales. But if you do your homework beforehand, you’ll know where to look for those deals and sales.
“Follow and stalk your favorite small businesses on social media,” says John Schultz, co-owner of Batter & Crumbs, a vegan bakery and cafe in Philadelphia. “Social media is the best way for a small business to connect with customers, and you never know what kind of deal or discount code you might find in a Facebook post or Instagram story.”
Schultz says that for Small Business Saturday this year, his bakery and cafe will be offering 20% off holiday gift cards.
Danielle Langton, a small business strategist in Austin, Texas, agrees with that strategy. And she suggests going beyond social media.
“One of the best ways for consumers to take advantage of Small Business Saturday sales is to sign up for their favorite brands’ email newsletters and text lists early,” says Langton. “Many small businesses use email newsletters and text messages as strong communication methods that alert loyal fans and dedicated shoppers to sales and discounts before the general public has access to them.”
She says that if you visit the websites of your favorite local businesses and opt-in to their newsletter list or text lists, “you’re likely to get early access to subscriber-only discount codes, expedited shipping, or free gifts with purchase.”
Look for opportunities to win prizes
If you want to make the most of Small Business Saturday, you might want to get into the spirit of the day and do more than just rush through the stores. Participate in some of the Small Business Saturday events that you will find at some of the small businesses.
Visit your local chamber of commerce site for sponsored contest events where there will be a drawing for gift cards at local businesses. For example, this year, for Small Business Saturday 2022:
— The Rahway, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce will be giving away 125 promotional bags with coupons, special offers, menus and promotional items from Rahway businesses.
— In Alabama, the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Shop Small, Shop Local Giveaway will give shoppers the chance to win one of 20 $100 gift cards to local businesses.
— In Evanston, Illinois, if you spend $100 at local stores listed on your “shopping passport,” you’ll receive a $30 gift card. Spend $150 and you’ll get the gift card and a winter hat.
— In Sharon, Pennsylvania, along with various giveaways, live music and other activities, every time you make a purchase, you’ll have a chance to win a $150 gift card to spend locally.
— In Great Bend, Kansas, they’re really going all out for Small Business Saturday with a Home for the Holidays cookie contest and parade, with cash giveaways of $1,000, $750, $500 and $250.
Those are just a few examples of what’s happening for Small Business Saturday 2022. These kinds of sales are happening all over the country, so be sure to check with your local chamber of commerce for deals and giveaways in your area.
[Read: 5 Small Business Tax Deductions.]
Set reasonable expectations
While there will be plenty of discounts at local stores on Small Business Saturday, as well as raffles for small prizes and meet-and-greets with Santa at some stores, you shouldn’t expect to find expensive products and services reduced to next to nothing. These are, after all, small businesses with tight profit margins.
For example, at Moriarty’s Gem Art, a small family-owned jewelry store on Main Street Square in Crown Point, Indiana, you won’t find reduced Black Friday deals, but you will find free appetizers or desserts.
That’s what Jeff Moriarty, son of the co-founders, says will likely happen this year.
“Every year we try to partner with one or more businesses in our city. One year we partnered with a brewery and had a drink and shop event. One year, we did an outdoor party type event with other companies. It was a rare year where it was hot on that Saturday,” says Moriarty.
In fact, that’s a good way to look at many of these Small Business Saturday events: as a block party. You’ll get discounts, but it’s more like a family or friends discount than something that goes down to 80%. A brand may do that and may need to clear inventory, but that kind of discount could really hurt a small business.
Ask for local recommendations
Your chamber of commerce could tell you which stores to shop at, if you don’t feel like going to a search engine or just wandering around and exploring stores.
And if you don’t know which small businesses to sponsor, you can check the Small Business Saturday section on the American Express website. On the website, you can type in your zip code to see a map of many small businesses in your area. Not surprisingly, the small businesses listed also accept American Express.
stick to budget
Just like shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’ll want to have an idea of what you’re going to be spending and try to stick to it before browsing your local neighborhood stores. If something isn’t on sale and you’re worried about making too many impulse purchases, you can always take a photo of the item, think about whether you really want to buy it, and if so, come back another time. Regardless, that’s a big part of why Small Business Saturday started: encouraging shoppers to make connections with small businesses in their community and hopefully return again and again.
[READ: How to Start a Small Business.]
Small Business Sabbath Conclusion
Beyond the deals, the best thing about Small Business Saturday is that it gets you out of your home and into your community. Hit some brick-and-mortar stores downtown, and you may find real gems you never knew about, establishments you may want to return to all year long and not just on Small Business Saturday.
And you can help your community in ways that go beyond helping the local economy. For example, Schultz says that Batter & Crumbs, his vegan bakery and cafe in Philadelphia, will be holding a Small Business Saturday fundraiser for a local organization called Stray Cat Relief.
“We are donating 10% of the sales of the day before to them. This is our way of giving back to the community. This local organization is wonderful, and they trap and find homes for stray cats within the neighborhood. This is something that certainly fits our mission,” she says.
But shopping on Small Business Saturday definitely helps the local economy, according to Schultz. He is especially grateful for the shopping vacation.
“Bakeries can be slow the weekend after Thanksgiving,” says Schultz. “However, Small Business Saturday brings the local community to support, and we can’t thank them enough.”
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What is Small Business Saturday? originally appeared on newssus.com
Update 11/21/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.