Spread the Local Love and Shop Small On Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24

A sales associate organizes inventory.
Sales associate Emily Bowers organizes inventory at Whim So Doodle in Petersburg, Fla., on November 16, 2018. Whim So Doodle is a locally-owned art supply store that participates in the shop small movement. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Black Friday is flat-out tiresome.

You wake up way too early — when you should still be sleeping off your Thanksgiving food coma — to go stand out in the cold and pray you don’t get elbowed in the face for a TV that is barely discounted.

Allow me to present an alternative for your holiday shopping: Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday takes place on Nov. 24 this year and is exactly what it sounds like: an annual day that encourages holiday shoppers to patronize their local small businesses.

American Express first launched the day in 2010 to help bolster local businesses that were hurting due to the recession. It gained momentum quickly, and by 2011, representatives in all 50 states were participating in the “Shop Small” movement.

A survey by American Express estimates that upwards of $85 million has been spent at local, independent businesses since the event’s inception, and 90% feel that it has positively impacted their communities.

So this year, tell Black Friday, “It’s not me, it’s you,” and circle Saturday on your calendar.

How to Participate in Small Business Saturday

Cards are displayed at a local shop.
Cards are among the items Whim So Doodle sells. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Whether you’re a consumer, small business owner or simply a local business supporter, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to Saturday’s Shop Small initiative.

If you’re a local shop owner and want to get involved with Small Business Saturday, head on over to the official website. You’ll find downloadable posters, event flyers, email templates, planning checklists and more — they’re customizable and free!

Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage. The Small Business Saturday site has downloadable social posts. Or, you can freestyle and do your own thing — just be sure to use #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags.

The site also offers how-to videos for inspiration and ideas for special events you can hold to attract customers.

And just because it isn’t Black Friday doesn’t mean you can’t offer deals to bring in business. Feature a special Shop Small discount or showcase your most holiday-shopping-worthy items.

People who don’t own a shop but still want to support local business have options, too. Small Business Saturday has official “Neighborhood Champions.” Their job is to spread the word, assist local businesses with participation, organize events and pass out Shop Small swag to passersby.

In 2017, over 7,200 individuals and organizations signed up to serve as event champions.

You can check out your local volunteers here if you’re interested in reaching out for information about events in your area. And while the application period to be an official Neighborhood Champion for this year has ended, you can unofficially spread the word and then sign up next year.

Lastly, if you’re just a consumer looking for the perfect gift for Dad, get out on Saturday and shop local!

Skip the Starbucks latte and grab some caffeine from your neighborhood café. Venture out in your neighborhood to find a new, funky boutique that offers something you wouldn’t find in the mall. And finish your day of shopping at a locally owned restaurant.

Keep an eye out for those Shop Small posters in store windows, or check out this map to find participating businesses in your area.

And don’t forget to show off your purchases on social media with the official hashtags (as if you weren’t going to do that anyway.)

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She only participated in Black Friday once and decided to never do it again — but Small Business Saturday is definitely her jam.