By: Philip Fritsche, President of the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce
Shop Small on Small Business Saturday®
Did you know that America has more than 27 million small and independent businesses? Sometimes they are franchise-owned national chains, like the local Beaver Dam Cousins Subs. Oftentimes they are mom and pop proprietors of unique operations to a community, like Kornely’s Craft and Hobby Center or Chippy’s Popcorn Creations. Occasionally like Beaver Dam’s Benvenuto’s, they branch out with new locations in other communities after starting locally. Eventually some of these businesses begin franchising their idea or opening dozens of corporate-owned locations and the once “small” business now becomes a big business like Culver’s or Menard’s, both of which started in Wisconsin.
It is generally accepted that whatever the size business, the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the biggest sales time of the year. To capitalize on those potential sales, for decades Americans have been bombarded with “Black Friday” sales by big box national retailers on the day after Thanksgiving. Over the last nine years consumers have also been hit with “Cyber Monday” – the Monday after Thanksgiving – promoting using the Internet to make holiday purchases. But somewhere along the line, the lifeblood of retail business in many communities – locally owned small businesses – were left behind. That is, until four years ago in 2010 when American Express began another annual holiday promotion specifically for America’s small businesses: Small Business Saturday, the Saturday following Thanksgiving and “Black Friday.”
Many skeptics in the media mocked the idea of Small Business Saturday and thought the promotion would never take hold in our American retail culture. But thanks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joining forces with American Express in 2013, and a renewed marketing investment by American Express, this great program has been pushed out through local chambers of commerce across the United States, including the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce, with promotion and participation growing every year. It is estimated that over 100 million people shopped locally on Small Business Saturday in 2013, spending an estimated 5.7 billion dollars!
Small Business Saturday in Beaver Dam this year finds local businesses participating in a Ring in the Holidays Passport promotion with a half-day of activity on Saturday, November 29th, coordinated by the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce. Holiday shoppers can get a free donut and coffee at 8:00 a.m. at Piggly Wiggly, where Mayor Tom Kennedy will officially kick off Small Business Saturday in Beaver Dam. All shoppers who wish to participate in the Ring in the Holidays Passport promotion will receive a passport book contest entry for a chance to win valuable prizes including $25 gift cards. The passport book is designed to take stamped imprints from businesses participating in the Ring in the Holidays Passport promotion. Shoppers will be asked to get at least 10 stamps in their passport book when shopping locally, and to fill in their name and contact information. Participation in the contest is free, with no purchase necessary at any of the businesses where shoppers can get a stamp for their passport. There will be an official drop-off of completed passport book contest entries to wrap up the Small Business Saturday Chamber event at noon on Saturday, November 29th. However, the Beaver Dam Chamber will accept completed passport books through noon on Friday, December 12th for those who want to keep shopping locally beyond November 29th! Winners will be chosen at random from all qualifying passport entries received.
Watch for signs promoting Shop Small and Small Business Saturday that will be popping up throughout the community in the days ahead leading up to Small Business Saturday.
To date, these local businesses are on board for the Small Business Saturday Ring in the Holidays Passport promotion being coordinated by the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce: Alyssum Health Coaching, Aspire Bodywork, Aspire Boot Camp, BMO Harris Bank, Cherry Berry, Chippy’s Popcorn Creations, Cousins Subs, Hometown Glass & Improvements, Kornely’s Craft & Hobby Center, Laundry Connection, LocaLeben, Mane Stage Salon, McKinstry’s Home Furnishings, Organic Health & Wellness Center, Piggly Wiggly, Preferred Realty, Propst Christmas Tree Farm, Reconnect Spiritual Sanctuary, Sake House and Verlo Mattress Store. These businesses and others will be participating in Small Business Saturday with the Ring in the Holidays Passport. The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce website will be updating the participating businesses through November 29th. For more information, go to www.beaverdamchamber.com