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Think small

Go big locally on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Kevan Goff-Parker October 31st, 2012

Holiday shopping ignites on Black Friday, when post-Thanksgiving shoppers mob big-box retail stores at ungodly hours to score major discounts.

The following Cyber Monday offers its own e-commerce steals.

So, what to do on the Saturday in between? Celebrate a relatively new American shopping holiday, of course.

Small Business Saturday, created by American Express in 2010, encouraged more than 100 million shoppers last year to shop at independently owned small businesses. Promoted through social media, public relations and an advertising campaign, the credit card company founded the themed day as an outreach to small business owners.

“We want small businesses to know that American Express will provide them with our Small Business Saturday tool kit that they can access at,” said Scott Krugman, American Express spokesman. “The tool kit will help them be ready on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with special offers and events for their customers.”

Krugman encourages small business owners to promote the event on Facebook and by using the Twitter hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday.

“When you build community around your brand, you create customers with more passion for your business,” he said. “And any small business knows that if you do right by your customers, they’ll do right by you.”

Teresa Wall, owner of 42nd Street Candy Co. at 4200 N. Western, is a believer. Her store has participated in Small Business Saturday for the past couple years. She plans to serve hot chocolate to customers that day.

“We’ve always had a great response to Small Business Saturday,” Wall said. “It is a good way to communicate with our customers for a low cost and reward our customers with coupons and special discounts.

Your relationships with your customers is the bottom line, and coming here has become a tradition for families in the neighborhood.”

She said that 64 cents out of every $1 customers spend at small businesses stays within the community. That percentage is much less at big-box stores, while shopping online rarely results in any revenue at all for the local economy.

“There will always be big businesses with more variety, but they don’t call you by your name and ask if you’ve come in for your dark-chocolate-covered almonds,” Wall said. “Our relationship with our customers is critical and is the key to the continued existence and success of small businesses.”

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