November 28th is Small Business Saturday, a day circled on the calendar of savvy entrepreneurs across the country. More than 2 in 3 Americans are now aware that two days after Thanksgiving is a day devoted to “shopping small.”

Swift strides

In just six years, Small Business Saturday has significantly increased foot traffic and sales for our nation’s small businesses. Last year, 88 million Americans participated in commercial holiday sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The average consumer spent $162 on Small Business Saturday.

Nearly 2 out of 3 new jobs in our economy are created by small businesses. We all have a stake in bringing more foot traffic to Main Street and encouraging shoppers to seek out handmade gifts they won’t find at a big-box retailer.

Shopping on foot

Last year, I visited six different restaurants and merchants in the District of Columbia. I toured an art gallery in search of a one-of-a-kind piece, found my granddaughter’s favorite sweater at a consignment shop and selected some great reads for friends at an area bookstore. Also, after a full day of shopping, I “dined small” at a local eatery in Alexandria, Va., after eating breakfast and buying treats for my staff at a neighborhood bakery that morning. A year later, I still go back to that bakery for their otherworldly granola.

"More small merchants are developing social media strategies to bring in new customers who will keep coming back long after the holiday season is over."

President Obama joined the 88 million Small Business Saturday customers last November, visiting an independent bookseller with his daughters for some Christmas shopping in the nation’s capital.

This year, America’s bars and restaurants are extending the hours of the daylong festivities by promoting Small Business Saturday Night. Nine out of 10 restaurants have less than 50 employees, and 80 percent of restaurant owners start their careers in entry-level positions. So the #DineSmall movement is another important way to support the job-creating businesses that give each Main Street its own unique flavor.

Share the love

Everyone can support their neighbors on Small Business Saturday by recommending their favorite local shops and restaurants on social media. Last year, 2 out of every 3 holiday shoppers purchased a gift originally found on social media. Half of all holiday sales now are influenced by digital interactions. Purchases may still be taking place predominately in person, but the influencing is occurring online.

Social marketing is virtualizing what has always happened on the soccer field and over the backyard fence. More small merchants are developing social media strategies to bring in new customers who will keep coming back long after the holiday season is over.

As the voice for small business in President Obama’s cabinet, I encourage all Americans to shop small and dine small on Small Business Saturday, a day when buying gifts for the people we love supports jobs and prosperity in the communities we call home.


What's your stomach's best find? Let us know how you #DineSmall on Twitter or in the comments below!