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Support Your Local Businesses on “Small Business Saturday”

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Support Your Local Businesses on “Small Business Saturday”

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: November 23, 2011 Updated: August 24, 2016

You’ve heard of Black Friday.  And Cyber Monday.  But did you know that this Saturday is Small Business Saturday?  We’re encouraging everyone to visit a small business to do some holiday shopping this Saturday.

As President Obama said in a message out to all Small Business Saturday supporters:

From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nation’s promise.  These businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America, helping spur economic development in communities across our country and giving millions of families and individuals the opportunity to achieve the American dream.  Through events such as Small Business Saturday, we keep our local economies strong and help maintain an American economy that can compete and win in the 21st century.

When you walk down Main Street in any city in America, you can often find great restaurants, service providers, and handcrafted, Made-in-America products from local shops.  It’s wonderful to simply go in and visit with local business owners and hear what’s happening in the community. 

There are many people in my life that appreciate a unique gift from a local business, like the blueberry jam I pick up at the Farmers’ Market in my hometown of Brunswick, Maine. This Saturday, I’m planning to go back to that market early in the morning, and then I will travel to Roslindale, Massachusetts, to celebrate Small Business Saturday with Boston Mayor Tom Menino.  Many other top-level officials throughout the Administration are also “shopping small” this Saturday.

Everyone knows that your dollar goes a long way at when you buy a product or service from a small business.  That money goes right back into the local economy.  And that’s important, because half of working Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create two out of every three new jobs.

It’s great to find the perfect gift from a small business.  Often, when you carry it to the counter, you can see the business owner’s eyes light up.  They tell a story about how that gift was made.  Or where it came from.  Or how it’s a one-of-a-kind.  And the gift immediately becomes even more meaningful and special.  Moments like that are what makes the holidays magical.

In addition to our support for Small Business Saturday, the SBA is working hard to make sure even more small businesses can keep growing.  For example, we had an all-time record for SBA loans this year, with over $30 billion in lending support that helped about 60,000 small businesses buy a new building, get more equipment, or hire more workers.  And, right now, the President is calling on Congress to cut in half the payroll taxes for small businesses as part of the American Jobs Act.

Let’s all do our part to support America’s small businesses as they continue to strengthen our economy and create jobs.  Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Small Business Saturday, and Happy Holidays. 

Ed. Note - This blog is cross posted on the White House Blog.


About the Author:

Karen Mills

Former SBA Administrator

Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.


I love the publicity that was generated by the promotion of small business Saturday. Unfortunately, after review of the 2012 small business Saturday, I would comment as a bust. This year, the big box stores ran Thanksgiving weekend from thanksgiving day, through and including Sunday. Our experience was very low business sales. I am guessing that most of our patrons were using their monies on the Thanksgiving sales. I would propose to set aside small business Saturday the second Saturday of December. This would give more focus on small shops individuality, instead of competing head to head with the big box stores, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. Thanks
I hope all small businesses took full advantage of this day. This was a great promotion opportunity and a way of securing repeat custom.
What a fantastic idea this is! I wonder what impact the day had for small businesses?
I would be really great if you arrange some similar event this month or at least the next month. I'd love to take part in such "Saturday"
I salute your initiative! Supporting local businesses is very important, especially since we see so many cases where corporations take advantage of a great deal of state benefits, and when some5thing doesn't go right they just leave, leaving thousand of unemployed people. A local business owner is attached of the city, an the people. Webmaster at Cipru
Very nice article. I will wait next one. Regards,This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.  
Local businesses need to find ways to compete with the big players. They have so much more scale. I came across and it is a great way to get online for free with free websites and web hosting.
Well, franchising, supposedly the cornerstone of small business and as many claim, the driving force behind economic recovery in America, has been excluded from the event. Here’s the AMEX notice… ELIGIBILITY: The Program is only available to independently owned businesses. Small business cannot promote any of the following: pharmaceuticals, drugs, politics, pornography or sexual aids, diet aids, gambling, liquor, tobacco, firearms/weapons, or any sensitive topic with respect to current events, and any such small businesses are not eligible for this Program. Franchisees, national chains and government agencies are not eligible. By participating in this Program, you represent and warrant that (i) your business complies with the requirements set forth herein and (ii) you are the owner of the business and have the right to participate in this Program. Yet, American Express heavily solicits franchise brands and franchisees to accept the American Express Card. And, as we all know, at a higher rate than that of Visa and MasterCard. Not to mention the fact that American Express typically exhibits at franchise conferences and trade shows where they promote AMEX Merchant Services. Besides, aren’t franchise locations independently owned and operated? At the very least, franchisees should be able to participate locally even if franchise brands are prohibited from participating at the national level! So, do you believe American Express was correct in excluding franchise brands and franchisees from Small Business Saturday? What are your thoughts? This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
I love the idea of Small Business Saturday, especially around the holidays. I think it has the ability to help people focus on the important things such as community and compassion during a time that these can easily be overshadowed by travel frustrations and presents. As the blog said, half of working Americans work in a small business. I think people sometimes forget that small business is actually quite a large part of our country. The people working in these businesses around the foundation of our economy. It says a lot about our priorities when people show their money into shopping malls and large retailers during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Super Saturday but manage to overlook the small businesses during the holiday season. Americans know that the economy has been rough for a few years now. The holiday season is a big spending time for a lot of people and it is important to channel some of that cash flow into the local economy. Nobody wants businesses to be forced to close so it is the obligation of the citizens to evaluate our spending priorities.

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