Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a day reserved for making a visit to the storefronts of small merchants, in Davis and elsewhere.
It’s referred to as Small Business Saturday. In its fourth year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is designated as an opportunity for independent retailers nationwide to publicize deals and draw in customers.
In 2010, the National Federation of Independent Business collaborated with American Express to create Small Business Saturday. FedEx, Facebook and Twitter are among the corporations that have been involved in the marketing campaign since.
“Our idea is to get people out and shopping at local businesses instead of sitting at home and ordering things online,” said Michelle Orrock, a representative of the National Federation of Independent Business. “It’s about keeping your money in your community, and making Main Street where you do holiday shopping.
“We’re hoping that … this will go beyond Small Business Saturday, and that (people will) start to shop locally on a more regular basis.”
NFIB and American Express recently paired up for a survey to gauge the outcome of the special promotional day. They found that independent retailers nationwide collected $5.5 billion in sales on Small Business Saturday last year.
And there’s an expectation that even more customers will be attracted to small businesses this Saturday. The survey also found that awareness of the program is 10 percent higher than it was last year.
Of the 44 percent of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday, 77 percent said they are planning to participate by shopping at a small business or eating at a local independent restaurant.
In addition, the survey illustrated that lots of small businesses are advertising Saturday’s promotions themselves. That’s certainly the case at The Avid Reader, a downtown Davis bookstore.
The Avid Reader’s windows, at 617 Second St., have a decal that promotes Saturday’s program. The local bookstore also participated last year, and owner Alzada Knickerbocker said it attracted interest.
“We definitely had people take advantage of it,” Knickerbocker said. “There was an awareness in the community, and we did our part to increase it. It’s a great concept, and I’m glad American Express is continuing to do it.
“I’ve long thought that alongside Black Friday there should be an alternative promotional effort for small businesses specifically, so this has been perfect for that.”
To bolster consumer incentive, American Express is giving a $10 credit to patrons who register their credit cards at shopsmall.com and use them to spend at least $10 at a participating retailer on Saturday.
The list of local merchants who will participate in the promotion can be found at shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com; search for Davis.
Regardless of whether it accepts American Express or not, every small business in Davis has been invited to participate in offering discounts this Saturday.
NFIB’s study showed that at least 67 percent of the nation’s participating businesses will offer discounts on merchandise, and 33 percent will offer giveaways in an attempt to attract more customers.
Mother & Baby Source, at 714 Second St. in downtown Davis, is one of the local businesses with special promotions prepped for Saturday. Store owner Lori Rumsey also embraced the campaign last year.
“We’ve worked hard to get the store cleaned and ready to go for this year,” Rumsey said. “We have a bunch of sales going on during that time and the staff is prepared to help people pick out a gift for their little ones.”
NFIB is encouraging shoppers to engage with it via social networking by tweeting with #ShopSmall on Small Business Saturday. The organization also will dedicate a Pinterest board to the promotional day.
“We’ve gotten active in promoting this on social media within the last year or so,” Orrock said. “We’re focused on promoting the day for our members. We’re hoping to bring in even better numbers for them this year — we’re optimistic.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett