Just like that, the holiday shopping season has arrived — quicker than you could ask for more turkey. While megastores and online retailers are serving up another year of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, mom-and-pop shops are strategizing to get black consumers off the couch over the weekend. Sandwiched in between those two shopping days is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.
Now in its fourth year, Small Business Saturday (founded by American Express in 2010) has aggressively recruited and engaged black entrepreneurs to participate in the annual event in order to benefit from the holiday season sales spike. It is also an opportunity for black consumers to shop smart — not only in terms of savings, but also in a way that is community-based and socially conscious.
Why black small businesses matter
“Small businesses really keep our communities grounded,” says Zuli Turner, co-founder of the Chicago-based Flecks Coffee Company. “You know your money is going to hire people that work in the neighborhood and be recycled many times over. We even buy our produce and flowers locally.” Flecks Coffee is one of the many small, black-owned businesses hoping to gain big by a program that encourages customers to shop small.
Black buying power is anticipated to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. Recognizing this influence on businesses and communities, American Express has teamed up with organizations like the National Urban League and the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce to create a “Neighborhood Champions” program that has organized Small Business Saturday events throughout the country. To date over 1,000 Neighborhood Champions have signed up to rally businesses in their municipalities to partake in local activities leading up to and on the day.