The Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 29th, the national spotlight will turn on an often overlooked engine of our country’s economic growth: small businesses.
Small businesses, or those with less than 500 employees, now comprise 99% of all U.S. employer firms. Over 23 million strong, small businesses is a sector of our economy that continues to grow rapidly. According to the Small Business Association, small businesses have created over 8 million jobs since 1990 and now account for more than half (54%) of all U.S. sales.
In 2010, American Express launched an initiative called Small Business Saturday to encourage people across the country to support small, local businesses. Over the ensuing years, shoppers have embraced the celebration, and each year the initiative gains in popularity. In 2015, 95 million people shopped at local retailers or dined in neighborhood restaurants spending over $16 billion, a 14% increase over the previous year.
Anchored between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday now stands on its own as a holiday tradition. Here are just some of the reasons it has gained in popularity:
Money stays local. For every $100 spent with a locally owned independent business, 68% stays in the community. When $100 is spent at a national chain, only 43% stays local. 
Conserves tax dollars. Spending locally instead of online ensures sales taxes go to your local municipality. A bigger tax revenue provides benefits to the entire community.
Showcases locally made products and services. Locally owned businesses choose items, create menus, and offer services based on the resources, preferences, and needs of the community. Local small businesses often carry the one-of-a-kind or locally made products that make the distinctive holiday gifts.
Local business owners give back. Studies show that local businesses donated to community causes at more than double the rate of chains.
Adds to the vibrancy of your local community. Small businesses help shape a community’s identity, building unique character and charm.
This November 26th, we will be joining American Express in shining a spotlight on our local small businesses. We hope you will do the same.
 Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics