2014 marks the fifth year of the American Express initiative Small Business Saturday. “In only five years, Small Business Saturday has taken on a life of its own and it’s been very exciting to see how small business owners and communities have come together to own the day and make it special,” explains Lisette Bernstein, Vice President of Small Business Saturday at American Express.” – Forbes. According to Bloomberg Business, “Consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants on Saturday (11/29/13), according to research published today by American Express (AXP) and the National Federation of Independent Business.”

American Express Had Help

In 2013, nearly 1500 small businesses volunteered to be neighborhood champions calling local small businesses and communities to action in support of the event. They recieved event kits focused on:

  • Spearheading events to get folks involved
  • Contacting local businesses to join in Small Business Saturday
  • Rallying their community to shop local

How can  Small Businesses Participate?

American express offers a Promotional Playbook that includes:

  • Shop Small Map
  • Printable Signage
  • Free Online Advertisement

Why Shop Local?

American Express shares that, “52% of what is spent at small businesses stays in the community.” But it’s more than that, as the SBA (Small Business Administration) explains.

“The 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970’s. The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40% of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people. The small business sector in America occupies 30-50% of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.”

 How can Consumers Help?

Consumers can help promote Small Business Saturday with Share Where You Shop. “I will #shopsmall for (favorite things) at (favorite store) to support my neighborhood.” may be automatically posted on Facebook and Twitter from this link.

How Important is Small Business?

The impact small business has on communities goes beyond dollars and cents. When neighborhoods experience high unemployment, when youth are unable to find meaningful employment, when mothers and fathers struggle to provide for their children—everyone is affected. Small business may be the key to saving our neighborhoods. Small businesses provide jobs, stability, and pride—they support local; shouldn’t we support them? #ShopSmall.