Business Basics
Small Business Saturday: How to support local businesses this holiday season (and beyond)

Small Business Saturday: How to support local businesses this holiday season (and beyond)

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The holiday season is right around the corner–and this year’s Small Business Saturday kicks off just after Thanksgiving on November 25th. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones or want to treat yourself to a holiday glow-up, this is an ideal opportunity to support businesses in your community in a meaningful way.

Why should we support local businesses?

Shopping at small businesses isn't just a transaction—it's an investment in the community. When you shop locally, you're supporting local job creation, contributing to the aspirations of community members, and keeping money circulating close to home. This, in turn, helps strengthen the local economy and can lead to greater prosperity for all residents.

On top of this, you're more likely to receive personalized attention when you shop small. Professionals at local businesses are more likely to have proficient knowledge of the products and services they provide. And to stay afloat and remain competitive, they often need to innovate and to stand out from big-box stores.

What is the impact of supporting local small businesses?

Not only does supporting local small businesses support your community, but it can also help you reduce your carbon footprint. In general, small businesses tend to purchase locally, requiring less transportation and resources compared to ‌big-box stores.

How to support small businesses

Ready to get started on your holiday shopping? Here are 7 ways you can make an impact this Small Business Saturday and all year long.

1. Buy your gifts from small businesses

Chances are that you’re already planning on buying gifts for those important to you. Why not set an intention to make your purchases from locally-owned businesses when possible?

Small businesses can often offer you something small batch, exclusive, or made with a personal touch. Giving your gift might even prompt the question, “Where did you find this?” which can open the door for you to spread the word about your Small Business Saturday discovery.

These gifts can carry greater significance than items from major chains. For example, if you or someone on your list loves coffee, check out BILL customer Golden Ratio for their unique and delicious low-acid coffee.

2. Shop online directly from your favorite small business’ website

Many small businesses offer eCommerce in addition to brick-and-mortar shopping. However, be careful where you buy. While companies like Amazon allow small business owners to sell products through their massive platform, they also take a cut.

Instead, make it a point to buy directly from the business’ website. If possible, select the “buy online and pick up in-store” option, which can give you an excuse to hit up their shop while running other errands. Who knows? You may discover other gift ideas when you stop by.

Looking for beautifully designed, absurdly soft clothes? Check out BILL customer Marine Layer and visit their online store.

3. Actively seek out new brands to support

Everyone has a set of brands that command their loyalty, but this Small Business Saturday allows you to break out of your routine.

No matter where you live, there are likely stores you’ve never visited or restaurants you’ve yet to try. Keep an eye out for independent bookstores, clothing shops, and other shores you’ve never supported before and stop in for a visit. 

Having a party this holiday season? Check out a rising brand and BILL customer Repurpose for their plant-based, certified compostable partyware and tableware. Or, find new brands by looking up Small Business Saturday events in your community.

4. Buy gift cards from small businesses you love

Need help finding something for a hard-to-please person on your list? Gift cards are often a safe bet and aren’t just for retail stores. Many local restaurants offer them, as do cafés, service providers, and even galleries. Love cookies? BILL customer Crumbl offers gift cards for their delicious treats.

With gift cards, the business gets paid immediately, and the person you give it to can enjoy something unique at their convenience.

5. Go out to eat at local restaurants and cafés

Instead of eating out at a major dining chain, make it a point to check out local restaurants. Most do takeout or curbside pickup, making them an excellent option for grabbing a meal after a day of shopping.

You might also swing into a local coffee shop while running your weekend errands. Many shops even feature live music and local artists, letting you ditch the impersonal big brand chains for a distinctly local flavor.

6. Share your favorite stores on your social media

Have you recently discovered a new favorite store or restaurant? Tell someone! Share a quick post about your shopping experience or upload a photo of your meal. You’re essentially providing the business owner with free, well-deserved publicity, and your friends might follow your lead and stop by next time they’re in the area.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Yelp also allow you to check in at participating locations. This can be a simple way to let your friends and followers know you’re supporting a local business and encourage them to do the same.

If your friends and followers ask for input on their holiday shopping choices, comment on their posts with recommendations from your favorite businesses. Not only will you be answering their questions, but you might give them some good ideas.

7. Rethink how you shop

Shopping locally may require some changes to how you usually buy. Consider your community along with the price and convenience of the item or service you’re looking to purchase. By keeping small businesses in mind, you stand not only to cross items off your shopping list but also to open your eyes to the people who make your area such a wonderful place to be.

Looking for fantastic gift ideas?

At BILL, it’s our mission to empower small and midsized businesses with financial automation. Check out our 2023 gift guide that brings together two of our favorite things: the holidays and our incredible customers. This year, we've added even more customers, industries, and deals to help you save time and money this holiday season.


What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is an annual US shopping event. It’s a day to celebrate small businesses and their impact on local communities.

Who started Small Business Saturday?

American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010. Since 2011, it’s been officially co-sponsored by The Small Business Administration. Small Business Saturday aims to promote small businesses during the holiday shopping season and to encourage shopping locally.

When is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Because of this, the date for Small Business Saturday varies from year to year. To find the specific date for a particular year, you can check a calendar or search online.

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