Black Friday will remain the preeminent day for deals at "big box" retailers, department stores and electronic superstores, but this Saturday, locally owned shops and boutiques will open their doors to a new holiday. To encourage patronage in America's small businesses, American Express OPEN, the credit card company's small business arm, is pushing awareness of shopping locally.
According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses account for half of all private sector jobs. In recent years, the economy has taken a toll on all business, hitting small enterprise the hardest as they struggle to compete without the resources and cash reserves of nationwide retailers. Winter holiday spending dropped drastically in 2008 after more than a decade of growth, peaking in 2007 at $474.5 billion. Last year saw only 0.4 percent sales growth nationwide after a drop of 3.9 percent in 2008. The NRF expects growth of 2.3 percent this year reaching $447.1 billion in sales this holiday season.
Local small businesses hope to be the recipient of a portion of consumer spending. Small Business Saturday is one attempt to raise awareness of local spending year round. Today, Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini will join the movement by signing a proclamation declaring Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010, as Small Business Saturday.
"The impact that local businesses have on our local economy is tremendous, and when there's a local fundraiser going on, local businesses are the ones contributing to those. They're the people that are our neighbors, they're the ones reinvesting in our communities and they're the ones that have a vested interest in the future of our communities, so I think it's important to support them every opportunity we get," Santini said. "Putting a spotlight on the importance of small business on this one day will hopefully lead to people thinking about it not just that one day but on every other day of the year. It's a good starting point."
National retailers will no doubt see crowds lined up early Friday morning looking for deeply discounted items to kick off the holiday shopping season. Cartersville Target Store Manager Bobby Goins expects for market trends to prove true for the holiday season and expects crowds similar to that of last year for Black Friday.
"We are expecting to have a good holiday season this year from a sales perspective," Goins said. "I do think that we have a great ad and as far as expectations to what sales will be this year. Right now we're expecting to do about right where we did last year."
The technologically savvy shopper will again have a chance to save on Cyber Monday as websites across the Internet offer discounted goods and free shipping. The Better Business Bureau offers advice for online shoppers hoping to bag a deal. For a list of the BBB top 10 tips for cyber shopping, see page 6B in this issue of The Daily Tribune News.