Small Business Saturday gives locally owned stores a boost
For millions of Americans, it’s not long after Thanksgiving dinner is finished that the focus shifts from food to shopping.
Some fight the crowds at big box retail stores on Black Friday, while others wait to get a deal online during Cyber Monday. An important day that falls in between the two, however, has made a significant impact on worthy businesses in recent years.
Small Business Saturday, created by American Express in 2010 to drive shoppers to local merchants nationwide, saw an estimated 95 million customers took part last year and experts predict even more to participate this year.
Though it’s now the 8th largest retail mortgage lender in the nation, Guaranteed Rate was once a small business itself, starting out with just 15 dedicated employees in 2000. It’s that kind of history which creates our appreciation for small businesses, as well as our understanding of the need to support them.
It was a year before the creation of Small Business Saturday when Mint Home launched an online business offering vintage furniture and modern home goods. Things went well enough in those early years that in 2012 owners Jessie Kuhny and Keisha Bandealy opened the doors to a brick and mortar store in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood, just a few blocks from Guaranteed Rate’s corporate headquarters.
“Small Business Saturday gives locally owned stores a national platform that, on their own, they would not be able to attain without large marketing budgets,” notes Bandealy. “It’s also a day to celebrate our neighborhoods and band together as a small business community. Every year, the percentage of people committing to shop small is increasing. That’s in no small part thanks to movements like Shop Small.”
As Bandealy points out, there are several reasons to “Shop Small.”
“It is a reminder to consumers that it’s important to support your locally owned businesses since they tend to contribute significantly more to the local economy than large corporations,” she explains. “They also support local not-for-profits, offer higher paying employment, and support other small businesses by featuring local and handmade products year-round.”
Mint Home’s owners have made a point to shop small, frequenting establishments such as Gather, Lillstreet Art Center, Neighborly, Sacred Art, Spoken Cafe, and Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co.
“And, 100% of our vendors are small businesses just like ours,” adds Bandealy.
So make a point of visiting the small businesses in your community on Saturday as you begin your holiday shopping. There is no better way to thank them.