In the wake of Black Friday, small shops and retailers were getting the attention on Saturday as United States consumers came out for Small Business Saturday -- a shopping holiday conceived by American Express in 2010. The day has become a way for small retailers, restaurants and shops to promote their establishments within their local communities. This year, American Express cut its shopping incentives, such as $10-$30 in statement credits for its cardholders that shopped with small businesses using their American Express card.
Despite the lack of an extra monetary push for consumers to shop, some stores have seen an uptick in customers on the shopping holiday. “Business has definitely increased compared to last year,” Tommy Kelly, general manager at District Donuts Sliders Brew in New Orleans, said. “I don’t think it [the lack of a statement credit] had any effect.”
“Business has been pretty steady,” said Chris Hendershot, owner of Cartridges Galore, a video game store that specializes in retro consoles in Cumberland, Maryland. “I can’t see any kind of difference this year.” That being said, marketing surrounding the holiday has been noticeable.
In Washington D.C., President Barack Obama made a stop at small businesses such as the Upshur Street bookstore to purchase several books and Pleasant Pops Farmhouse Market for ice cream popsicles to share with his daughters Malia and Sasha. In Tampa, the Hyde Park village shopping district hosted pop-up shops with several vendors, according to WFLA.
Despite protests that kept consumers from shopping at stores throughout Chicago on Black Friday, shoppers were also out and about Saturday to support their local businesses.
“There’s always going to be some impact, but I’ve been out most of the day and it’s been busy and festive and people are out on a typical after-Thanksgiving shopping day,” John C. Chikow, president of the Magnificent Mile association, said. “The local businesses seem very pleased with the briskness.”
According to a survey conducted on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, 55 percent of U.S. consumers in 2015 were aware of the holiday, up from about half of consumers last year, while 83 percent said that the day inspires them to shop all year long. And this year the holiday is expected to bring in over $14 billion in revenue compared to the $14.3 billion pulled in by small businesses during Small Business Saturday in 2014.
“Small Business Saturday has grown every year and it's been a big boost to Main Street America,” Dan Danner, CEO of NFIB, said. “We are very proud to partner with American Express once again this year to promote an event that connects American consumers with their hometown businesses.”