CHAPEL HILL – As national chains prepare for the crowds that Black Friday will bring, many local small business owners are gearing up for Small Business Saturday.
Founded in 2010 by American Express, the initiative taking place the day following Black Friday works like this: If a customer spends $10 or more using an American Express card at a participating small business on Saturday, they will get a $10 statement credit.
Forbes Magazine reported that $5.5 billion was spent on Small Business Saturday in 2012.
A Southern Season, located in University Mall, is one of the largest specialty-food retailers in the United States. Brian Fauver, president of the company, says Small Business Saturday has boosted business in what is an already busy time during the holidays.
“We take it [Small Business Saturday] very seriously. It’s really kind of a fun thing to have the focus be on Saturday instead of Friday,” Fauver says. “But we are a small business, and the products on our shelves come from small businesses as well.”
Wendy Smith, co-owner of Cameron’s located in Carrboro’s 300 East Main, says it reminds shoppers of what local businesses have to offer.
“Small businesses really fuel the communities that they are in,” Smith says. “When you spend money in a small business, so much of that really stays in the community.”
Fifty-two percent of what is spent at independent, locally-owned businesses stays in the community, according to a study conducted by Civic Economics.
“I think it really has opened people’s eyes to the whole ‘shop local’ phenomenon,” Smith says. “American Express has really done so many small businesses a favor by doing this.”
She adds that Cameron’s doesn’t try to match the business strategies of big box stores on Black Friday.
“Typically, because there is such a focus on the national chains where they can offer really great deep discounts, we are still very happy for people to come shop with us [on Black Friday], but we just can’t offer those deep discounts,” Smith says. “It will just be a regular day for us.”