Why I Love Small Business Saturday
Imagine it now, school’s out for Thanksgiving holiday, all you have to do is prep all the veggies for a full day of cooking. You cook, everyone eats and you still have at least 3 whole days of cozy leftovers and hanging out with the family. But wait… why are you ditching the kids and your couch to fight over a $20 TV? Does anybody really need that TV? Are the prices really that much better, worth leaving your house on that rare day off? Have you thought about the families that are missing their loved ones checking you and your “discounted” goods out? (Ya I put quotes around discounted, the prices don't change, the color of the signs do) Let’s say you opt for “Cyber Monday”, you’re right, the mobs of people are too much and not worth it. Is displacing that much of your local economy worth it? You spend x amount off in internet space that your city never gets to use. Approximately $68 spent at every small business goes right back into your city. Literally ZERO DOLLARS goes back to your neighborhood when you buy on a 3rd party selling monster. Let me paint a picture of Black Friday Weekend that isn't influenced by corporate greed and targeted marketing. Business owners open late(that’s where “Black” Friday came into play) to sleep off the turkey, less staff because less business. The people are HOME. With their kids, forming them into non-delinquents. Decorating for Christmas, baking cookies and sweets, about afternoon comes around and the owners family swing by the store to share the goods with neighbors and friends. The family closes up a little late because of some lingering “chatty cathies” but that’s ok, because they get to go home peacefully and enjoy leftovers. This is the black friday my grandpa described to me, however, not the black friday I was raised with and definitely not the black friday that exists today. You’re telling me that supposed discounted product and flash sales are worth sacrificing someone else's, let alone, your family time? The convenience of binge buying on Cyber Monday is worth your neighbors, the small business owners who pay taxes and sponsor the PTA, going without? Not in my Long Beach.
Our small business started closing Black Friday because sitting around hoping customers would remember that we still existed was desolate. It was pretty clear upon driving past Los Altos Center and Lakewood Center and seeing them ABSOLUTELY PACKED only to work a completely empty store till about 2 o'clock that Black Friday for the small business owner was dead on many levels. The Saturday following Black Friday turned into decent business, mainly because it was the first Saturday to buy christmas presents. When American Express started developing “Shop Small Business Saturday” I jumped and I jumped high. FINALLY, finally some assistance from a business that can afford it. Most small businesses that succeeded the recession were left with EVEN LESS resources leaving us unable to evolve. We had to rely on our know how and customer service, something lost in big stores. It was working, steady but surely, small businesses remained. American Express’s #shopsmall movement let us feel united, no longer alone and unheard. They provided marketing materials and gave smart and innovative ideas that could bring in customers during a weekend that we all hated. They advertised for us! They reminded the consumer that WE, small businesses, matter, we’re not forgotten. #shopsmall lit a fire in me, it made me strive to post, print, utilize everything they gave me. When customers realized how much that day meant to me, and us, they hopped on board. Small Business Saturday has become a day of warmth and community. When I was appointed “Small Business Champion” of our neighborhood last year I was buzzing with excitement to give #shopsmall kits to all my small business owner peers. I was met with confusion, which was even more confusing for me. “What am I supposed to do with all this?” UHM!!!!! Use it! Be a part of something! American Express offered us a gift and our customers are starting to get it! They improve and expand their marketing every year, evolving to a consumers taste so why wouldn't you take advantage of it?? Why wouldn't you be a part of something? I spent many years wondering how a community could forget about the businesses but apparently my fellow small business owners forgot how to get excited. That’s neither here nor there because the movement means a lot to me. It's a potential resurgence in independent business, entrepenurialship, and local economy. It’s hope, it’s progress, it makes me excited for the season. I’ll keep pushing and supporting and LOVING Small Business Saturday because it represents community, it represents us.
We still “boycott” Black Friday, we believe in employees being at home with their families forming bonds and morals. We enforce those bonds on Small Business Saturday by shopping and spreading much needed economy to our neighbors. This Small Business Saturday, November 30th, be sure to support your neighbors and community. John I cant end it, help. But that wasnt half bad so there. <3 <3