Nov. 26 is ‘Small Business Saturday’

Last year American Express designated Nov. 26 “Small Business Saturday,” a day to celebrate and support local, independently-owned small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and invigorate neighborhoods across the country.

“Everyone who cares about small businesses in their community is invited to take part in the day by ‘liking’ Small Business Saturday on Facebook, by giving shout-outs to the small businesses in their communities, and by “shopping small” on November 26,” organizers say.

Last year, more than 1.5 million Facebook users “liked” the Small Business Saturday page, and 130 public and private organizations and 41 elected officials declared their support. Organizers say Nov. 26 sales volumes for small retailers accepting American Express were 28 percent higher than in 2009. More than 200 organizations have signed up to support Small Business Saturday this year. FedEx, Google, Facebook and Twitter have shown their support by creating a new tool, service or offer for small businesses, available at www.facebook.com/shopsmall.

Small box facts

“Small business is the engine that drives the US economy,” organizers say.

Small firms:

• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms

• Employ about half of all private sector employees

• Pay 43 percent of total U.S. private payroll

• Have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years • Create more than 50 percent of nonfarm private gross domestic product

Source: Small Business Administration (2007)

• Home values in 27 studied neighborhoods with thriving independent businesses outperformed their broader markets by four percent per year and 50 percent cumulatively over the past 14 years. These “indie hotspots” were found to support an average of more than 1,800 jobs at independent retailers, restaurants and bars.

• Independently owned small retailers account for 11 percent less of total retail sales than they did 20 years ago (from 57 percent in 1990 down to 46 percent in 2009).

• Independent bars and restaurants fared slightly better, but still lost seven percent of total sales (from 71 percent in 1990 to 64 percent in 2009).

Source: The American Express OPEN Independent Retail Index (October 2011)

• 93 percent of US consumers believe it’s important to support the local small businesses that they value in their community

• 87 percent believe that small businesses are a critical element of the overall U.S. economic health

• 89 percent agree that locally-owned, independent businesses contribute positively through taxes and jobs

• 73 percent consciously shop at small businesses in their community because they do not want them to go away.

Source: The American Express OPEN Small Business Saturday Consumer Pulse (July 2011)