Big things are happening as Small Business Saturday turns 10
American Express, for the first time, is playing up future technology to support Small Business Saturday, but the overall “shop small” message is resonating more and more as the event reaches its tenth year.
An American Express survey found 77 percent of Americans considered Small Business Saturday a national tradition. The same 77 percent were interested in spending money to support Small Business Saturday this year, up from 44 percent in 2010.
Supporting those sentiments is the finding that 84 percent agree that closing of small, independently owned businesses and increase in empty storefronts negatively affects their local communities.
The primary talking point of the program is the finding that an average of 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. ends up staying in that local community.
At a launch event last week at its first-ever pop-up that displayed futuristic technologies, Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known as the composer and star of the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton,” spoke about how the community messages in commercials featuring Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld and Martin Scorsese convinced him to become an American Express ambassador. He grew up, met his wife and is raising a family in the Washington Heights section of New York City.
Mr. Miranda also noted he is becoming a small business owner himself with his purchase with three partners of Manhattan’s century-old Drama Book Shop. He read manuscripts on the book shop’s floor as a teenager, eventually met contacts that launched his career and wanted to preserve that artists’ community.
Asked about advice for small business owners, Mr. Miranda admitted he is still learning about retail, but said he decided to acquire Drama Book Shop because the place was “about so much more than what was on sale.” He added, “An algorithm may tell you what book you might like, but you’re not going to get that personal connection that someone will give you in a bookstore … It’s about interacting with other people.” He encouraged small business owners to “create something that is richer than the sum of its parts.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the “shop small” message increasingly resonating with consumers or something most “preach but don’t practice”? Are there more steps Small Business Saturday or retailers themselves should take to better promote the community benefits of shopping local?