michelle_thompson_dolberry.jpgNEW YORK – Hundreds of communities across the country will be rolling out the welcome mats for millions of shoppers on Small Business Saturday, November 30th. Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide during the  holiday shopping season.

Last year, U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.5 billion with independently-owned businesses on the day based on the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey. This meant that small businesses across the country got their holiday season off to a strong start, as millions of U.S. consumers “shopped small” on Small Business Saturday and made a big impact on local communities.


According to the 2012 Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, 81 percent of small business owners said Small Business Saturday is most effective when communities band together and host events.


Based on this insight, American Express has created a Neighborhood Champions program, working with business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the U.S. Black Chambers Inc., the Latino Coalition and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) to organize Small Business Saturday events in communities throughout the country.

To date more than 1,000 Neighborhood Champions have signed up to rally businesses in their municipalities to partake in local activities leading up to and on the day. Miami will participate.


During these local events, shoppers will have the opportunity to pick up Shop Small tote bags and fill them with gifts purchased from local small businesses in their neighborhood on Small Business Saturday.


Neighborhood Champions joined the program by providing a description of their plans to organize events or activities and a list of at least 10 local businesses that they plan to rally. After registering, they received an activation kit that includes giveaways, welcome mats, balloons and banners. 


“Last year, thousands of small businesses from around all over the country took ownership of Small Business Saturday and consumers responded,” said Michelle Thompson Dolberry, American Express Open spokeswoman for Small Business Saturday. “Based on our research, we believe the day can be even more successful when businesses band together to make Small Business Saturday a true celebration for the neighborhoods they support.”

Small steps to success

As part of the Neighborhood Champion program, American Express offers event organizers a number of tips to make the most of the day including:

Make it a celebration

Throw a parade on your main street. Host a community block party or downtown fair. Design an event that showcases what local businesses have to offer and inspires people to participate and “shop small” on the day. And, don’t forget that you can leverage existing events in your town to help make the most of Small Business Saturday.

Make it memorable

Dress up the town with signage, banners, and balloons to help the cause stand out and call your community to action on the day.

Engage more small businesses and help them participate The more small businesses you can get on board, the bigger the day can be.

Engage the whole community

Create a festive atmosphere with face painting, balloon animals, and cotton candy to help attract families with young children.

Talk it up

In meetings. At the grocery store. Over dinner with friends. The more passionate you are spreading the word; the more others will be doing the same.

*Pictured above is  Michelle Thompson Dolberry of American Express.