Small Business Saturday is a national initiative held the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage shopping at local retailers. Business owners strive to present not just a productive shopping experience, but also an engaging and sometimes entertaining adventure that can include special offers, complimentary hot chocolate, horse-drawn carriage rides and even local artists or entertainers. Some towns even offer late night shopping with extended hours to help promote local venues.
Shopping at local retailers has many advantages. It can be a unique, personalized experience for the customer because business owners have a personal stake in the outcome and therefore will try to provide a more individualized experience for the shopper. Products are typically distinct and the staff more knowledgeable. In addition, customers are able to directly support their neighbors and help benefit their local economies by reinvesting in their communities—and getting some holiday gifts crossed off their lists.
Started in 2010, Small Business Saturday has become a holiday tradition that provides an opportunity for reinvesting in local communities. It is an important initiative for small retail stores that are facing stiff competition from online and big box retailers. Dollars spent at small, local merchants give them a chance for reinvesting in their local communities by creating jobs and paying taxes. Money circulating within the local market promotes longevity and prosperity. Also, business owners who produce locally-made products source local materials or manufactured goods, thereby increasing the effectiveness of supporting small business.
Small Business Saturday traditionally falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making it part of the busiest shopping period of the year. After the rush of Black Friday promotions at larger retailers, this day was started specifically to boost the sales of local businesses—the men and women who are your friends, neighbors, and community partners. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 25, 2023. It’s position between the two mega-shopping events strategically allows smaller stores to take part in the critical pre-holiday shopping dates, instead of competing against them.
And the results of Small Business Saturday are impressive. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants last year spent an estimated $17.9 billion during the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation has predicted that holiday sales this year are expected to increase up to 4% over last year, making this year’s holiday spending consistent with the average increase, excluding the pandemic years.
Your local community bank is ready to help small businesses manage their success. By providing a wide range of services to businesses of all sizes, community banks like First Keystone Community Bank provide the knowledge and experience to grow and enhance local businesses. In addition to business checking and savings accounts, community banks offer financing options, cash management solutions, and fraud protection. Typically, this relationship-based banking leads to faster decisions with the community in mind; local networking and collaborative lending; and personalized attention.
Community banks offer flexible decision-making on business loans because decisions are made locally by local people who better understand their customers’ needs and can offer advice on relevant issues like avoiding fees, managing their spending, and improving their credit score. Customers who receive advice are generally a bank’s best customers.
Some of the roles that community banks can play in supporting small businesses include:
- Personal relationships: Community bankers often develop personal relationships with their small business clients. By understanding the business, its owners, and its local impact, bankers can offer more tailored financial solutions.
- Quick response time: Because they are also local, community banks can often make decisions and respond to loan applications quicker than larger institutions.
- Flexible terms and access to capital: Understanding the local business landscape allows community banks to offer more flexible loan terms tailored to the specific challenges and opportunities faced by small businesses in the area, which can lead to a more personalized evaluation process and easier qualification. In fact, small businesses that work with small banks report higher rates of loan approvals.
- Local knowledge: Community bankers often possess in-depth knowledge of the local market, which can be invaluable for small business owners. This knowledge can guide business decisions, from market positioning to expansion.
So, when you’re checking off your holiday gift list, remember that the holiday season is all about giving, and giving back to your local businesses is the best gift you can give. For more information on small business banking support, call First Keystone Community Bank at 570-752-3671.