Everyone knows all about Black Friday-- Or they think they do. News reports every year announce the traffic jams at malls. People line up hours or days in advance at Big Box stores for insane sale prices. You hear over and over about how it’s the day retailers will start to show a profit.
It’s a little different for small businesses. That’s not really the picture of what’s going on for many of the mom & pop shops around our nation. For many of them, the day after Thanksgiving is a finish line (whew! Made it to the Holiday shopping season) and the start of a marathon (egads! It’s the Holiday shopping season!). Black Friday represents the moment when all the work and effort and striving of the past year starts to pay off. You see that new customer come back. You get to chat with your favorite customers-- the ones who bought baby toys a few years ago and now need something for a teen. You “rescue” someone by having the absolutely perfect thing for that hard-to-pick-for person on their list. The Holiday shopping season is the pay-off for those slow as molasses, dog-days of summer.
Of course, none of this means anything if you, the consumer, doesn’t show up.
Do we want you to stop shopping with the Big Box stores? No, although we wouldn’t mind if you did it a little less.
Do we want you to stop ordering things online? Not at all. We want you buying from our website, too!
Do we want you to consciously consider what makes your community unique, what makes it special, what makes it your home? Yes.
We’re betting some part of what makes your town, city, or neighborhood a dear, treasured place to you is a small business. Maybe it’s a coffee shop. Maybe it’s a (ahem) toy store like us. Maybe its a gift shop or bakery or bookstore. Whatever that little store is, you know they’ll always come through for you-- you’ll be greeted with a smile and you know you matter. With this in mind, consider how you want to spend your Holiday budget.
Now that you’ve thought about where and how you want to spend your money, think about when you’ll spend it. American Express, as part of their “Open” Small Business Network, is encouraging communities around the country to declare the Saturday after Thanksgiving “Small Business Saturday.” As part of this declaration, they’re asking consumers to make a point of spending some money at a small business on Nov. 27. You can read more about Small Business Saturday on their website and facebook page.
Shop Small. And watch what big things can happen.