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It's not all about Amazon: Local businesses gear up for Small Business Saturday

’Tis the season for holiday shopping, and while it may be tempting to score doorbuster deals at a big-box retailer for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to save a portion of their holiday spending for local businesses and support their community retailers.

Now in its ninth year, Small Business Saturday was created by American Express (AXP) in 2010 to support struggling business owners after the 2008 recession. According to Amex, this #shopsmall movement has resulted in a total of $85 billion spent over the past eight years at independent retailers and restaurants across the country. Over a hundred million Americans shopped small each of the past two years, growing over 44% from just over 74 million shoppers in 2014.

In addition to incentives like store discounts and special promotions, some states, like New Mexico, offer tax-free shopping. Many communities will also host fun activities and festivals for families to encourage support of local business. And this year, more than 7,500 “neighborhood champions” or local retailers and nonprofit community groups are expected to participate in the initiative.

Small Business Saturday supports a diverse range of small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country.

Shopping local is not only good small-business owners, but for your community as well. According to the research firm Civic Economics, for every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 stays in your community. That’s compared to $43 if you shopped at a chain retailer. Shopping small also encourages job creation: 57 jobs are created for every $10 million spent at small businesses, compared to just 14 jobs for every $10 million spent at Amazon, according to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

The U.S. has 30.2 million small business, and 58.9 million small-business employees. But the small-business sector has faced challenges as online retail dominates and the cost of real estate soars. According to American Express, 90% of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community. If you want to support local businesses in your community, find out where you can shop in your area here.

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