I'm also seeing a new trend that makes me smile: Small Business Saturday ads. I love the concept of Small Business Saturday for a number of reasons.
- I grew up in a small town, with a beautiful little downtown that provided me with all of my shopping experiences between the time I moved there when I was twelve until the time I got my driver's license at seventeen...and beyond. I felt free to roam and wander fearlessly. I bought school supplies, Christmas presents and the best cream donuts ever. I went to college in a small town, too, and lived there for two more years as a graduate student, subsisting on grinders from the local pizza shop.
- I am a small business. Not only do I sell Thirty-One Gifts, but I'm also an author who does the lion's share of her own promotional work. And do you know who was most willing to offer me signings and opportunities? Small, indie bookstores.
- Small business Saturday encourages community. In a world that's growing increasingly scary, the thought of preserving community seems more important than ever.
True, Small Business Saturday was launched by a decidedly big business: American Express. True, AmEx has skin in the game, but its big business presence and equally big pockets helped spread the word, making the concept grow faster than it would have with merely a grassroots effort. In 2011, the United States Senate officially recognized Small Business Saturday, and in 2012, American Express used its substantial resources to provide free web ads for small businesses, giving them exposure beyond what their budgets made possible. Rather than trying to eat the little guys alive, American Express sees the mutual benefit of working together.
I don't work for American Express. I don't have an AmEx card, and I have no plans to get one.
But I know a good idea when I see one, and I appreciate the value of cooperation, especially in a time when it feels as though camaraderie and mutual respect are in short supply.
What small business will you patronize this Saturday?
Feel free to promote your favorite local business by leaving its name and location in the comments.