National Campaign Continues to Promote Local Spending

Since the early 20th century, the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, has been the most important American retail holiday of the year. However, the weekend after Thanksgiving has transitioned to an opportunity for “mom-and-pop” businesses around the country to cash in on the holiday craze.

Small Business Saturday, or Sunday, depending on the location, is a recent phenomenon. Interestingly, it didn’t begin as a grassroots movement. In November 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday to promote community engagement and to stimulate local economies.

By the next year, Small Business Saturday had become a much-anticipated shopping event, independent of Black Friday, and had been recognized as a retail holiday by the Senate.

Additionally, American Express began to distribute free, personalized advertisements for businesses that participated in the event. Since its inception, Small Business Saturday has only increased in popularity, with $14.3 billion spent at local businesses during last year’s event.

Local businesses across the country celebrate Small Business Saturday in different ways. Like many big-name stores, some businesses open earlier than usual. Some invite local performers or artists to share their work. Others offer unique promotional prizes to early birds and big spenders. Most advertise heavily and offer significant discounts on inventory.

Downtown Fargo has taken to the concept of pressing for local support throughout the entirety of the holiday season, starting with Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday. And continuing the push through holiday related events, including the upcoming Christkindlmarkt, the Plains Art Museum’s holiday art sale and others.

Instead of — or, in addition to — camping out in front of Best Buy or Target on Black Friday next year, try visiting a local boutique, cafe or bookstore on Small Business Saturday. Support your local economy while placating your inner shopaholic.

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