As the holiday shopping season swings into full gear across the nation, advocates for small business are reminding consumers to shop small.
The first Saturday following Thanksgiving has been designated as Shop Small Saturday since 2010 and has boosted spending in small business by $5.5 billion.
The U.S. Senate officially recognized the initiative in 2011 and officials expect this year to be the best yet.
Last year, nearly 70 million people participated.
There are more than 35 Kentucky cities participating and Louisville has one of the most vibrant locally owned business scenes in the nation, said Michael Ashcraft, spokesman for the Small Business Administration in Kentucky.
“There are not too many cities that are similar in the sense that they have so many small businesses that are thriving,” he said.
Shop Small Saturday was put into motion by American Express to encourage consumers to support local businesses in the U.S.
Locally owned, small businesses create two-thirds of new private sector jobs, and half of working Americans either own or work for a small business, according to the Small Business Administration website.
Ashcraft said supporting local businesses can create jobs and bolster the local economy.
“Studies have shown that a vast majority of dollars spent in those small businesses stay within those communities, as opposed to the big box stores where a lot of the money spent goes outside their community,” he said. “So, it’s really important.”
Smaller businesses can offer consumers “something more” than big box, corporate owned stores can, Ashcraft said.
“I go back to the same place time and time again for gifts because they know what I’m looking for and they take care of me, a big company just doesn’t have the ability to do that,” Ashcraft said.
For a list and map of participating businesses, go here.