Who Needs Black Friday When You Can Shop Small?

After Thanksgiving, when the turkey has been consumed and the cranberry sauce devoured, many Americans participate in the tradition of shopping on “Black Friday,” the day following Thanksgiving when popular retailers offer low prices for popular gadgets, toys, textiles, and more. The history of Black Friday dates back to the 1960s and indicates the kickoff to the Holiday shopping season. According to blackfriday.com, “black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” as a historical reference to when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink denoted a loss, and black a profit (www.blackfriday.com). On Black Friday, holiday shoppers are most commonly drawn to the thrill of a purchasing goods at prices that are drastically lower than they are during the rest of the year.

However, Black Friday has been experiencing competition from other initiatives such as Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday, that also want a piece of the holiday season shopping pie. Small Business Saturday is an initiative of American Express that began the tradition in 2010 in order to encourage people across the country to support small and local businesses. In fact, Small Business Saturday became official when the United States Senate officially recognized it in 2011, making it an American institution (www.AmericanExpress.com). Indeed, President Obama and other policymakers from coast to coast have voiced their support for Small Business Saturday.

Consumers are encouraged to participate in Small Business Saturday as a way to support small and local businesses that rely on community reciprocity. Moreover, a report published by Bank of America concluded that 91 percent of small business owners said Black Friday has either little or no impact on their business’ generation of revenue (www.entrepreneur.com). Unlike retail giants, such as Target, Best Buy, and Nordstrom, small businesses are unique in that they rely on fewer consumers, select merchandise, personalized experiences, and exclusive promotional offers to foster consumer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and a sense of community.

The infographic below describes the many facets of small and locally owned business and how their impact on local communities enhances overall community wellness.

Indeed, consumers who chose to shop small on Small Business Saturday will be doing themselves a favor by avoiding the madness that is Black Friday. Who wants to battle with other buyers to get a new television or appliance anyway? Although big box retailers may offer more varieties of merchandise, their merchandise is mass produced, whereas small business merchants offer unique gifts, handcrafted jewelry and artisan foods, to name a few. Furthermore, buyers will support their local economies by shopping small as small businesses employ nearly half of all private-sector employees in the United States. In fact, MoneyTalksNews.com reports that opening a big box discount store directly reduces employment by an average of 150 jobs within the county it is located because each employee replaces approximately 1.4 retail workers (www.moneytalksnews.com). By shopping at your neighborhood Mom and Pop shops, you can contribute to their small business success and employee retention.

In short, support small businesses throughout the year and begin your holiday shopping season on a positive and helpful note by taking part in Small Business Saturday, which will take place this year on Saturday, 28 November 2015. Happy shopping and happy holidays!