2014-11-28 / Your City

Chamber, city help promote Small Business Saturday

By Kimberly Petalas and David Dore

In an attempt to compete with the big businesses following Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday was established to keep some of the holiday shopping local.

“Small Business Saturday has certainly grown in the last few years, and I only see it continuing to grow,” Leominster Small Business Development Coordinator Sandie Cataldo said. “The community is responding to the shop small initiative; it’s a wonderful opportunity for the small businesses to take advantage of the visibility during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.”

In 2010, American Express launched the idea of Small Business Saturday nationwide. The goal was to encourage shoppers to spend their money at local business and begin a holiday tradition.

In 2011, the United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, officially recognized the day.

As a way to help the movement grow, in 2012, American Express helped to promote small business through free, personalized online advertisements. It was estimated that $5.5 billion was spent at small businesses on that day in 2012.

Last year, approximately 1,500 people signed up to rally their communities as part of Small Business Saturday.

The 2014 Independent Business Survey, conducted by the Institute for Local Self- Reliance, gathered data from over 2,600 independent businesses nationwide. More than 75 percent of those businesses reported an increase in customer traffic specifically due to Small Business Saturday efforts. On average, those same businesses also reported an approximate 7 percent increase in year-to-year sales.

Through this initiative, small businesses can sign up through American Express to create free promotional materials to help drive business to their stores.

Locally, the North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce helps to promote their hometown businesses. Through chamber events, local businesses have the opportunity to make connections.

“Our sole mission at the North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce is promoting socially, politically and economically, a pro-business agenda,” said Sales and Member Services Manager Yasmin Loft. “So it only makes sense for us to partner with AMEX and our community to help promote Small Business Saturday. We encourage everyone to get out and support your local small business this Saturday.”

According to the Independent Business Survey, when a consumer spends $100 at a large corporate company, approximately $16 stays in the local economy, compared to the $32 when consumers buy local.

Among the Leominster-area businesses taking part in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 are Aunty Ellen’s Creative Confections, Central Flag and Gift, Curves for Women, Cutiques/Cutie Patuties/ CP & Company, Duvarney Jewelers, Fun America at Roll On America, Il Camino, Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center, Leominster Storage Solutions, Rituals, ROOTS Natural Foods, S&S Custom Kitchens and Wood Floors, Shack’s, Shancakes, Sweet Creations by Gloria and Wyman’s Liquors.

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