It’s hard to resist the holiday spirit when you’re on Broadway in South Boston. Small businesses of every type – from salons and restaurants to retailers and fitness studios – are decked out in seasonal décor. With all of the noisy headlines about how the big retailers are faring this shopping season, local businesses like these serve as a nice reminder to “think small” when it comes to holiday gift giving.
Now that the frenzy of Black Friday has passed, it’s a good time to reflect on the impact that Small Business Saturday® had on the 2015 holiday shopping season. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 with the intention to encourage people across the country to shop at small, local businesses during the holidays. The most recent Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express on November 30, 2015 shows the continued growth of this event. More than 95 million consumers shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday 2015, representing an eight percent increase from last year. The survey also shows that total spending among those aware of Small Business Saturday in the US reached $16.2 billion, an increase of 14 percent from $14.3 billion in 2014.
While these numbers reinforce the economic impact of Small Business Saturday, it’s important to remember that shopping small can create a positive impact on local communities all year long. Studies show that when you shop local, 48% of each purchase is channeled back into the community versus 14% when you shop at a chain store. Small businesses are also an important catalyst for innovation and job creation in a neighborhood. And the bonds that are formed between small business owners and their customers are often ones that stand the test of time. These loyal relationships can help keep communities strong and thriving.
Dyan LaRosa, the owner of the Beauty Bar, was recently interviewed on WHDH about Small Business Saturday. When asked why she thought shopping local was so important, she said “It’s a wonderful way for the community to come out and do some shopping.” And she adds that it’s all about giving back: “If we flourish, we pay it forward. We give to the South Boston Neighborhood House and we give to other local South Boston organizations.”
So as you consider your gift lists this holiday season, don’t forget about supporting local businesses in your community. Whether you’re looking for the perfect food item, piece of clothing, or a gift card, small businesses can fulfill the wishes of everyone on your list. If you need some help getting started, Caught in Southie recently published a helpful article dedicated to local holiday shopping events. Skip the crowds, hit the sidewalks, and support your local businesses this holiday season.