In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October. The choice of this timing seems obvious enough, as the crops have been harvested, and in some regions of the country, there might be the odd snow flurry in the air.
Our American neighbours celebrate their Thanksgiving much later, the 4th Thursday in November. Typically, that week is the busiest travel period of the year with families gathering to celebrate over turkey and all the traditional sides. Once, the table is cleared and dishwasher running, the holiday might as well be over as Black Friday starts at midnight.
The countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah is on. In the blink of an eye, Black Friday erases the harvest themed decorations. Stores change their Thanksgiving installations overnight, and the sales promotions start, in some cases, at 12:01 am. Retailers hope for long line-ups at their cash registers while shoppers are hunting for bargains. E-commerce is a factor too as big retailers can push online sales tools to a broad audience on Cyber Monday.
Community Building Means “Shop Local”
So, what hope does a small independent business have in this environment? American Express first coined the term “Small Business Saturday” in 2009. If one is cynical, you could think that the company hoped to capture some extra business squeezed in the middle of these huge shopping frenzies.
Regardless of the original intent, Small Business Saturday is a good enough reason to stop the madness and reflect on the impact of your purchasing dollar. These businesses are the ones who interact directly with your community by providing needed services and employing locals.
Read this article by Forbes magazine; Why Small Business Saturday Matters Now More Than Ever.
Our reasons why we like to shop with small businesses:
1. They support local communities, town centres, walkable cities
2. Offer many unique, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items
3. Encourage creativity and entrepreneurial spirit
4. Friendly, personal service – these are folks who do what they do because they love it
5. You can (and should) ask for advice – remember these folks are experts in their business whether it is tuning bikes, making gelato or weaving silk.