Why Small Business Saturday is important for communities, too

Small Business Saturday is not just a slogan, it’s a difference-maker.

So said Al Titone, the New Jersey district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Titone said Small Business Saturday — which takes place Nov. 24 — can have a huge impact not just for businesses, but for communities.

“This Saturday is typically one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year and can make or break a small business,” he said. “Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for all of us to get behind neighborhood businesses by supporting them.

“When someone spends $100 at a local small business retailer, $48 is recirculated in our local economy. But if that same $100 is spent at a large big-box business, only $14 is recirculated in our local economy.”

Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday, which is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, continues to provide small business owners across the country with a big economic boost during the holiday shopping season. Last year, 108 million consumers went out to shop small and spent a total of $12 billion in local shops and restaurants across America.

And, according to Titone, this year promises to be even better.

“Based on a recent survey from the National Federation of Retailers, consumers will spend 4.1 percent more than last year during this holiday shopping season,” he said. “Deloitte’s annual holiday economic forecast also projects total retail sales will increase 5-5.6 percent during the 2018 holiday season.”

Titone said it’s welcome news for the 71,325 New Jersey small retailers who employ 160,000 workers, which accounts for 35 percent of retail employment throughout the state.

“Of those 71,000 retailers in the state, 1,693 retailers have between1-499 employees, with 20,241 retailers employing between 1-20 employees and another 49,391 retailers who are sole proprietors with no employees,” he said.

In addition to retailers, Titone also noted that there are 18,337 eating and drinking establishments in New Jersey. They employ nearly 350,000 workers; make up 8 percent of employment in the state and account for $16.3 billion in sales.

“Restaurants are equally important to New Jersey’s economy and we want to emphasize that small restaurants also depend on local holiday shoppers to stop by for lunch or dinner after a full-day of shopping,” he said.

Titone said businesses are stepping up their games to get customers.

“Many successful retailers and restaurateurs are masters at creating the ultimate customer experience for their clientele,” he said. “Those who consistently win over their customers with exceptional service and quality products and services know that it is that great shopping or dining experience that keeps them coming back.

“Ultimately, your customers are your brand ambassadors. It’s their influence that can drive more customers through the door; the better the experience the more likely small retailers will see an increase in their sales.”