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‘Small Business Saturday’ encourages shopping small, local this weekend

Sentinel staff report–
While big box stores are banking on Black Friday’s shopping frenzy to boost sales, small businesses around the country and in Citrus Heights are looking forward to an expected financial boost this Saturday from the ninth annual “Small Business Saturday” — a day designed to encourage consumers to support small, local businesses in their communities.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010, quickly receiving official recognition and support from the president on down to governors, mayors, and senators around the country. By 2012, American Express reported an estimated $5.5 billion was spent at small, independent businesses on Small Business Saturday — with that number nearly tripling by 2016.

Although initially launched and heavily promoted by American Express, Small Business Saturday is now sponsored by a wide coalition of organizations and businesses.

“Shopping small has a significant and positive effect on local communities, and we hope Small Business Saturday will help to amplify that effect during the crucial holiday shopping season,” American Express spokeswoman Elizabeth Rutledge said in a news release earlier this month. “When we spend local, small businesses thrive. And when small businesses thrive, we all thrive.”

A 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study commissioned by American Express found that for every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents stays in the local community.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, which now co-sponsors the Day, reported last year’s Small Business Saturday event drew participation from more than 100 million shoppers who spent an estimated $12.9 billion at independent retailers and restaurants. That number is down from a record high in 2016, where spending was estimated at $15.4 billion.

In 2016, the NFIB reported that 72 percent of consumers were aware of Small Business Saturday, while that number has climbed to 91 percent awareness this year, according to a 2018 survey released by the NFIB and American Express.

The survey also found that 96 percent of consumers planning to “shop small” this Saturday said the day inspires them to patronize “small, independently owned retailers or restaurants that they have not been to before, or would not have otherwise tried.”

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