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Small Business Saturday returns at pivotal time for retailers

Crain’s Detroit Business
Nov. 22, 2021
Jay Davis

Small Business Saturday returns this week for the 12th time and this year’s event is a pivotal one.

“Small businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, when many were forced to endure closures or restrictions,” said Sarah Miller, vice president of marketing and communications for the Small Business Association of Michigan. “We know that, for retail stores in particular, the holiday season represents a large portion of yearly sales. Choosing to shop at a small business makes a big impact on local economies, with about 67 cents of every dollar spent staying in that community.”

Small Business Saturday, which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is billed as a day to celebrate and support small businesses. The event, established in 2010 by American Express and co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Association, has become big for small businesses. The 2020 event saw shoppers spend about $19.8 billion, up slightly from 2019.

Thousands of businesses in metro Detroit and throughout the state are set to participate this year, offering discounts, giveaways and more. For example:

  • The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. is compiling listings of brick-and-mortar and online small businesses and what they are offering. Local businesses can submit their own events, too.
  • Downtown Rochester is offering visitors a chance to win a $500 shopping spree and a list of participating businesses.
  • Oakland County as a whole has created an online hub that allows prospective shoppers in 23 communities to find participating businesses and a list of activities.
  • Macomb County is running its Shop Local Macomb campaign through Dec. 5.

Miller understands the importance of the focus on the day, but believes consumers shouldn’t wait until the holiday season to shop small. “While Small Business Saturday is just one day, we encourage everyone to support their local small businesses all year long when doing holiday shopping, dining out, or even choosing a service provider,” she said.

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