Chances are, you do not have memories of being a little kid and going with your parents to Small Business Saturday sales. That’s because as shopping holidays go, Small Business Saturday is pretty new. It’s also an excellent way to not just find unique holiday gifts but often ones with fairly significant discounts.
And when is Small Business Saturday? This year, it’s Nov. 26, 2022.
What Is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday created to inspire consumers to shop locally at mom and pop stores. Invented by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday that’s been embraced by small businesses across the country. In fact, in 2011, the Senate, recognizing the importance of small businesses to the economy, unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday. The hope was to encourage holiday spending and spur job growth.
Small Business Saturday falls on the day after Black Friday, when retailers tend to pull out all the stops and offer steep discounts to entice shoppers to stock up for the holidays. Small Business Saturday is basically the independent business version of what major brands do on Black Friday and what online retailers try to capitalize on during Cyber Monday, the big online shopping day the Monday after Black Friday. In general, Small Business Saturday is a day when deals are often found at small businesses to encourage consumers to step away from online shopping and support their neighborhoods and communities.
So, if you’re looking to secure the best deals on Small Business Saturday and contribute to your local economy, here are some ideas for getting the most out of shopping small at independent retailers in your neighborhood.
Scout Deals Beforehand
If you show up to some downtown area in any town or city on Small Business Saturday, you’re likely to find some deals and sales. But if you do your homework beforehand, you’ll know where to look for those deals and sales.
“Follow and stalk your favorite small businesses on social media,” says John Schultz, co-owner of Batter & Crumbs, a vegan bakery and café in Philadelphia. “Social media is the best way for a small business to connect with customers, and you never know what kind of deal or discount code you might find in a Facebook post or Instagram story.”
Schultz says that for Small Business Saturday this year, his bakery and café will be offering 20% discounts on gift cards for the holidays.
Danielle Langton, a small business strategist in Austin, Texas, concurs with that strategy. And she suggests going beyond just social media.
“One of the best ways for consumers to take advantage of Small Business Saturday sales is to subscribe to their favorite brands’ e-newsletters and text lists head of time,” Langton says. “Many small businesses use email newsletters and text messaging as a strong methods of communication that alerts loyal fans and dedicated shoppers to sales and discounts before the general public has access to them.”
She says if you visit the websites of your favorite local businesses and opt in to their newsletter list or text lists, “it’s likely you’ll snag early access to exclusive subscriber discount codes, expedited shipping or gifts with purchase.”
Seek Out Prize-Winning Opportunities
If you want to get the most out of Small Business Saturday, you may want to get into the spirit of the day and actually do more than rush through the stores. Participate in some of the Small Business Saturday events that you’ll find at some of the small businesses.
Check out your local chamber of commerce site for sponsored contest events where there will be a drawing for gift cards at local businesses. For instance, this year, for Small Business Saturday 2022:
— The chamber of commerce in Rahway, New Jersey, will be giving out 125 promotional giveaway bags with coupons, special offers, menus and promotional items from Rahway businesses.
— In Alabama, the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Shop Small, Shop Local Giveaway will be giving shoppers a chance to win one of 20 $100 gift cards to local businesses.
— In Evanston, Illinois, if you spend $100 at local shops listed on your “shopping passport,” you’ll receive a $30 gift card. Spend $150, and you’ll get the gift card and a winter hat.
— In Sharon, Pennsylvania, along with various giveaways, live music and other activities, every time you make a purchase, you’ll get a chance to win a $150 gift card to be spent locally.
— In Great Bend, Kansas, they’re really going all out for Small Business Saturday with a cookie contest and a Home for the Holidays Parade — with cash giveaways of $1,000, $750, $500 and $250.
Those are a handful of examples of what’s going on for Small Business Saturday 2022. These kinds of sales are happening across the country, so make sure to check out your local chamber of commerce for deals and giveaways in your area.
[Read: 5 Small Business Tax Deductions.]
Set Reasonable Expectations
While there will be many discounts at local shops on Small Business Saturday, as well as raffles for small prizes and Santa Claus meet-and-greets at some stores, you shouldn’t expect to find expensive products and services slashed to next to nothing. These are, after all, small businesses with tight profit margins.
For instance, at Moriarty’s Gem Art, a small, family-owned jewelry store in the Main Street square in Crown Point, Indiana, you’re not going to find Black Friday slashed deals, but you will find free appetizers or desserts.
That’s what Jeff Moriarty, son of the co-founders, says will likely happen this year.
“Each year we try to partner up with one or more businesses in our town. One year we partnered up with a brewery and had a drink and shop event. One year, we did an outdoor block party type of event with other businesses. It was a rare year where it was warm that Saturday,” Moriarty says.
In fact, that’s a good way to look at a lot of these Small Business Saturday events: like a neighborhood block party. You’ll get discounts, but it’s more along the lines of a family or friends discount than something being marked off at 80%. A brand name can do that and may need to empty out inventory, but that sort of discount could really damage a small business.
Ask Around for Local Recommendations
Your chamber of commerce could tell you what stores to shop, if you don’t feel like going to a search engine or just wandering around and exploring stores.
And if you don’t know which small businesses to patronize, you can check out the Small Business Saturday section on the American Express website. On the website, you can type in your ZIP code for a map of numerous small businesses in your area. Not surprisingly, the small businesses listed also accept American Express.
Stick to a Budget
Just like shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’ll want to have an idea of what you’re going to spend and try to adhere to it before browsing local stores in your neighborhood. If something isn’t on sale, and you’re worried about making too many impulse purchases, you can always take a photo of the item, think about whether you really want to buy it, and if so, come back another time. That’s a big part of why Small Business Saturday started, anyway — to encourage shoppers to make connections with the small businesses in their community and hopefully return time and time again.
[READ: How to Start a Small Business.]
Bottom Line on Small Business Saturday
Beyond the deals, the best thing about Small Business Saturday is that it gets you out of your home and into your community. Go visit some brick and mortar stores in your downtown, and you may find some real gems that you knew nothing about, establishments that you may actually find you want to return to throughout the year and not just on Small Business Saturday.
And you may help your community in ways beyond helping the local economy. For instance, Schultz says that Batter & Crumbs, his vegan bakery and café in Philadelphia, will be holding a fundraiser on Small Business Saturday for a local organization called Stray Cat Relief.
“We’re donating 10% of sales from the day back to them. This is our way of giving back to the community. This local organization is wonderful, and they trap and find homes for stray cats within the neighborhood. This is something that certainly fits our mission,” he says.
But shopping on Small Business Saturday definitely does help the local economy, according to Schultz. He particularly is grateful for the shopping holiday.
“Bakeries can be slow the weekend after Thanksgiving,” Schultz says. “However, Small Business Saturday brings the local community out to support, and we can’t thank them enough.”
More from U.S. News
Update 11/21/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.