By Kristin Rover
Black Friday is just around the corner and many people will spend the day rushing from one large department store to another stocking up on all of their holiday gifts.
Another shopping trend has also been growing in popularity in recent years, and that is Small Business Saturday.
Started by American Express Nov. 27 2010, Small Business Saturday was created to encourage residents to get out and support the small locally-owned businesses in their communities the Saturday after Black Friday.
According to American Express, card members receive incentives for shopping locally on Small Business Saturday and businesses can join the movement to promote themselves and be placed on the company’s Small Business Saturday Map.
In 2011, the United States Senate officially recognized Small Business Saturday, and American Express said millions of shoppers participated by shopping small that year.
This year, Small Business Saturday will be Nov. 30, and small business owners are excited to welcome shoppers into their stores.
“I think it is pretty spectacular,” Nancy Meyer, whose family owns Row House Gallery and Custom Framing in Milford, said about Small Business Saturday.
Meyer said she is surprised that a company like American Express would spend so much money advertising for people to shop locally.
“It’s really about shopping your neighborhood,” Meyer said. “The more people who shop their own neighborhood, the more money stays in the neighborhood.”
Meyer said her family business, which features custom framing, artwork and gifts, has been located in Old Milford for 42 years.
She said several years ago they added American Express to the credit cards accepted at their store. She said she also registered their business and received information and a logo to let people know they are participating.
“A lot of people come in,” Meyer said about Small Business Saturday.
She said it is also convenient in Milford because Small Business Saturday occurs during the Hometown Holidays festival when the businesses stay open later.
Tom Cottrill, the owner of the Candle Factory in Batavia, said he hasn’t noticed a difference in the number of people who come out to shop on Small Business Saturday, but he said he thinks it is a good idea to promote small businesses.
“They should have a small business year,” Cottrill said.
Tim Smith, who owns the Ben Franklin store in Bethel, said when he heard about Small Business Saturday he thought it was going to be just like many promotions that come and go.
“I was really amazed by how many customers I had in my store last year on Small Business Saturday,” Smith said. “It really did help.”
Smith said a lot has changed in the retail industry over the years with large corporate stores and online shopping and it is nice to see people supporting small businesses.
He said last year he had many customers who participated in Small Business Saturday and said that was the reason they came in.
“I know American Express took this on, but a lot of people who came in never used a card,” Smith said. “They just came in to patronage small businesses.”
Smith said he is hoping for similar turnout this year.
Clermont County has a number of small locally owned businesses as well as several historic shopping villages and towns.
Whether you are looking for unique toys for young children, a perfectly framed photo, a day of pampering for your significant other, or even dog treats for your furry friend, local shops have items for everyone on your list.
To search for local shops near you, visit http://merchantgeo.force.com/CardMember/ShopSmall?id=92394&selectedlanguage=American+English?linknav=us-open-shopsmall-subnav-findsmallbiz.
A list of small businesses in your area can also be found on your local township or village website.
For more information about Small Business Saturday, visit www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small.