Small Business Saturday is a day for everyone — from the business owners who create jobs to the customers who buy locally — to support small businesses that invigorate the economy and keep communities thriving. It began in 2010 when American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Last year, over 100 million people came out to shop at independently-owned small businesses on the day.
I wondered if anyone noticed the irony of not-so-small American Express sponsoring a small business promotion. Bungalow Bill's blog did.
It's very expensive for small business owners to accept American Express, and many small business owners already hurting to make a profit simply cannot afford to take American Express.
You see, when you shop at a small business and use a credit card, not only are you paying an interest fee or annual fee to use that card, the merchant as well must also pay the fee. For the small business owner, this hurts the already tight bottom line. American Express charges higher fees than other credit cards, which of course takes away from important profits small businesses need to survive in these tough times.
If you are going to visit a small business today, don't pull out your American Express. Pay with dollars. You will be helping the small business owner out.
As I wrote last year on Small Business Saturday, if one 'buys' the set of statistics that —
for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures, whereas if spent in a national chain, as so many are doing today on so-called Black Friday, only $43 remains locally, and if on-line, probably nothing
—supporting your neighbors would seem to be a mutually beneficial cause.
According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses of less than 500 employees account for around half the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) and more than half of the employment in the U.S. More than 75% percent of those small businesses have fewer than 10 employees.
But why stop there?
Why not, tomorrow, make it SMALL BREWERY SATURDAY, be that at the brewery (if it has an open house) or at a brewpub, or at an independently-owned beer shop, or at a locally-owned restaurant or pub that supports local beers.
According to the Brewers Association, 97% of the more than 2,000 breweries in the U.S. are small and independent. It defines small as producing fewer than 6 million barrels per year. In 2011, these small breweries, combined, were responsible for 103,585 jobs and produced a total retail dollar value of $8.7 billion.
Tomorrow, while you're at it, why not support your local farm, winery, and cidery? And, for that matter, why not repeat often?