Ready, set, shop!

Here’s a news flash for those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the past month: Black Friday is upon us. Let the conspicuous consumption begin.

But before you blow the holiday budget on Midnight Madness deals and Tryptophan Thursday specials, independent shop owners want to make sure you know about Small Business Saturday.

Scheduled for Nov. 24, the three-year-old event sponsored by American Express is a pep rally of sorts for small retailers at risk of getting overlooked in the holiday frenzy.

I talked to more than a half-dozen local store owners this week, and every one of them said the promotion has increased consumers’ awareness—and their sales. (Click here for my story on what they're doing to attract shoppers.)

That’s particularly important now, when business is brisk enough to help retailers turn a profit for the year.

Homespun: Modern Homemade owner Amanda Taflinger, for example, said she uses proceeds from the holiday season to pre-pay rent on her Irvington shop and save cash to survive slow summer months.

“This is a critical time of year for us,” she said.

Results of the annual Small Business Consumer Insights Survey released this month showed that 67 percent of consumers aware of the promotion planned to “shop small” on Saturday. That’s up from 44 percent last year, according to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Small retailers offer a different shopping experience than most big-box stores, and supporters say their success has more of an impact on the community.

Organizers of the national 3/50 Project say for every $100 spent in locally owned stores, $68 returns to the community—versus $43 for the same $100 sale in a chain.

The initiative, launched in 2009, aims to “save the brick and mortars our nation is built on” by encouraging consumers to spend a total of $50 each month at three independent businesses.

According to the number crunchers, if half of the employed population followed that advice, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.

What’s your take on the “shop local” movement?  Will you patronize a small retailer this holiday season?

 

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