Shopping small can be a big boost to the community.
About two-thirds of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. stays in the local community, according to a study commissioned by American Express.
That’s why the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed Small Business Saturday and set aside as the day for holiday shoppers to support locally owned businesses.
Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express, and the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of the holiday the next year.
But small businesses are more than just little mom and pop joints — the federal definition of a small business is having fewer than 500 employees.
That means there are over 30 million small businesses across the county, including 1.1 million in Georgia, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, making up 99.6% of all businesses in the Peach State.
Drew Tonsmeire, director of Kennesaw State University’s Small Business Development Center, said those small businesses make up the backbone of a local economy.
“The majority of a community’s workforce is small business, the majority of spending is with small businesses and support of small business is an indicator of the economic health of a community,” he said.
A 2018 survey found over 70% of consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday, and spending at independent retailers and restaurants on the day rose to a record high of $17.8 billion last year. And according to American Express, shoppers have spent an estimated $103 billion on the holiday since it began.
Emily Goldstein, manager of Shop ‘Til You Drop Boutique on Marietta Square, said Mariettans are familiar with the shopping day.
“It’s probably one of the biggest days of the year for us, even bigger than Black Friday,” she said. “It’s steady business throughout the day. Typically during the week or even during festivals, it’s little pops of crowds, but Small Business Saturday definitely brings a crowd through the whole day, so it’s definitely a steady flow instead of pockets here and there.”
Goldstein said Shop ‘Til You Drop offers big discounts on Small Business Saturday — 30% off everything in the store and an extra 20% off select items — but she said many customers say they come out specifically to support small businesses.
“We have people that say ‘Oh, we come every year,’ or ‘We wait for Saturday versus Friday to come here’ because they know they want to support local businesses,” she said. “The customers we have that are repeats definitely plan ahead.”