Small Business Saturday is a recent addition to the shopping frenzy leading up to the holiday season and was created to encourage shoppers to spend money locally.
“It is a lesser-known event to Black Friday because most small businesses can’t compete with the frenzy and the mayhem that is Black Friday,” said Mila Gendron, manager at Wilderness Supply. “So it is a day to celebrate shopping local and the effect small businesses have on the community where our funds stay locally and where we hire local employees.”
Wilderness Supply is giving back to the community this year by donating all proceeds earned during Small Business Saturday to the Regional Food Distribution Association.
Video: Small Business Saturday showcases local talen
Gendron said Wilderness Supply has worked with the RFDA in the past and she is confident that the support it receives will go towards helping those most in need.
Metro shoppers show support for local stores
“We all need to eat,” she said. “It’s an essential part of our lives and too many people don’t have access to that. We wanted to the help them.”
Shop owners throughout the city are banding together, hoping to make American Express Small Business Saturday come just as natural to shoppers as the big box store holiday, Black Friday.
“I think it’s important to support our community because that is who supports us, without our community we have nothing, so it makes sense for us to give back to them when we can.”
“I love shopping here … its personable,” said Dawn Spiers, a regular Reeses customer who was shopping on Saturday for her eight-year old daughter, Ireland. “Its easier than shopping at malls, and its a great way of giving back to the community.”
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Brendan Carlin, community services manager with the RFDA, said he wasn’t even aware of Small Business Saturday before being approached by Wilderness Supply, but he is grateful to see a local business reaching out to help fill area food banks.
“For us its important to have any partners that make it easier for our supporters to donate or support our cause,” he said. “Small businesses are such a big part of our community and we love small business and we are appreciative for the support that they have shown us.”
Lexington Shoppers Take Part In Small Business Saturday
This is the busiest time of year for the RDFA, Carlin continued, as more people are forced to turn to food banks during the holiday season.
“But it is also a time that we also receive a lot of support and donations as well, so we are looking forward to another good holiday season for us and our member food banks,” Carlin said.
In addition to all the proceeds being donated to the RFDA, customers are also encouraged bring food items for donation as well. The RFDA will be at Wilderness Supply on Saturday until 5 p.m. Gendron said food items will still be accepted at Wilderness Supply for donation to the RFDA at anytime.
Small Business Saturday has only been around for eight years, but the initiative is already raking in big money in the U.S.
Video: Customers flock downtown during Small Business Saturday
Some 67 million Americans are planning to shop on Small Business Saturday, according to a report from the National Retail Federation and consumer data company Prosper Insights & Analytics.
If recent years are anything to go by, the initiative is proving to be a big boon for small businesses.
Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express in 2010 as a means of encouraging customers to support small businesses in the aftermath of the recession.
The following year, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the holiday, as businesses across the U.S. flocked to take advantage of the movement.
Supporting Thy Neighbor: Small Business Saturday Kicks Off
The initiative was enthusiastically promoted by the administration of former U.S. president Barack Obama.
“From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nations promise,” the White House said in a statement in 2011.
Rockford shops offer unique things on Small Business Saturday
“Through events such as Small Business Saturday, we keep our local economies strong and help maintain an American economy that can compete and win in the 21st century.”
The Trump administration has followed suit, urging Americans to support local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
One local entrepreneur asking the community to spend locally but also give back at the same time.
Forty-one per cent of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers surveyed by the National Retail Federation said they would be making time to shop on Small Business Saturday. A majority of them said they would do so specifically to support small businesses.
Between 2010 and 2017, Small Business Saturday spending was estimated at $85 billion, according to American Express surveys. That’s an average of over $10 billion per day over the eight days.
Local businesses hoping for boost on Small Business Saturday
There are over 30 million small businesses — defined as having 500 employees or less — in the U.S., according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.