This year marks 10 years since American Express launched Small Business Saturday, it’s initiative to encourage consumers to shop small in their communities during the holidays. Always held the Saturday after Thanksgiving (and Black Friday), the Shop-Small initiative is a great reminder to get out and support your local community.
But, there are so many opportunities to shop small throughout the holiday season. And as a supporter of local businesses across the country, we wanted to share some of our ideas for keeping local top of mind this season.
Participate in Small Business Saturday
This is the easiest way to Shop Small — there’s a whole day dedicated to it! Small Business Saturday makes it simple for you to find and support local businesses. And, the timing couldn’t be better. You’re still in Thanksgiving leftover heaven, you might have found some great deals on Black Friday, and you’re ready to get out and about in your area — without the midnight stampede.
Look for Maker’s Markets or Festivals in Your Area
The holidays are a busy time for makers, and most towns and cities have markets to showcase local vendors. This is a great (and not to mention fun!) way to support your local community and pick up some special gifts for those on your list. I love looking for craft fairs and farmer’s markets to visit “ I always find something for my friends and family that they end up loving, and it stands out among the gift cards, candles, and socks they’re probably also going to get.
Most city or town websites have a calendar of events they’ve collected of what’s going on throughout the area that you can use to find markets or festivals. You can also do a quick search on your favorite search engine for something like “Craft fair near me.”
I recently went to a craft festival I found on Facebook and purchased a few holiday gifts. Most of them were for me, but — hey! — that’s part of the fun.
Branch Out for Your Home Services Needs
The holidays can be hard on your home. More people putting pressure on your plumbing, landscaping to do or lights to hang, and a space cluttered with wrapping that needs cleaning can mean that you’ll likely need to call some type of home services business in the next few months. So, instead of calling a big chain, why not hit up a local business to help you out? You can find great businesses in your area through search engines, local listing sites like Angie’s List, or by asking your friends what local providers they like to use.
Don’t Put off That Check Up You’ve Been Avoiding
During the holidays and winter months in general, it seems like most people experience at least a little cold. And, many healthcare providers are local businesses themselves. So, it might be a good time to get some preemptive care or get that physical you’ve been putting off! It’s also a great reminder to go to the dentist and get your eyes checked — I know I’ve been putting that off all year.
Plus, if you have an FSA, now’s the time to spend your dollars on healthcare expenses!
Check Out Gift Certificates for Your Favorite Local Businesses
Some businesses don’t offer products or services you need right away, but they may offer a great way to gift your friends and family an experience with your favorite business. Don’t forget businesses like salons, spas, and even cleaning services when you’re considering gift options during the holidays. I know I love getting gift certificates or gift cards to a new nail salon. It’s a guilt-free way to get some pampering once the holidays are over. And, your favorite businesses might be running holiday deals or specials you can take advantage of.
Give Your Car Some TLC
The winter months can be hard on your car. It’s cold, which isn’t always great for your engine, your tires might be crunching on some snow, and you may be in need of a car wash after that trip to visit your family. So, now’s the perfect time to visit your local car spa to get your car looking fresh, or it might be time to take your car to the local repair shop for a quick tune-up. Give yourself the gift of an issue-free vehicle as you drive into the New Year.
What Does This Mean for Local Businesses?
If you’re a local business owner and didn’t think Small Business Saturday was for you: think again! Consumers are looking to shop in-store this holiday season, and they most likely need your services, products, and more. So, don’t worry if you’re not a big-box retailer or even a retail store in general. There’s still an opportunity for you to take part in the Shop Small initiative and connect with consumers in your area.