Retailers encourage shoppers to support local on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday tag
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(WWJ) -- Today is Small Business Saturday.

With Black Friday in the rearview mirror, retailers are encouraging holiday shoppers to support small, locally owned businesses.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer officially declared Nov. 27 as Small Business Saturday earlier this week, saying “small businesses are the backbones of our communities.

“Our small businesses demonstrated incredible resiliency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we should celebrate them and their invaluable contributions to our state by shopping local this holiday season,” Whitmer said.

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Many communities across metro Detroit are holding Small Business Saturday events in hopes of luring shoppers to buy local.

Small Business Saturday also kicks off what’s known as “Merry Month” in Berkley. Michael McGuinness, Director of the Berkley Downtown Development Authority, tells WWJ downtown has been transformed into a holiday shopping wonderland.

“We’ve had dozens of storefronts transformed with retro holiday designs on the exterior, we’ve got merry elves that are surprising shoppers on the sidewalks with free downtown swag or gift certificates and coupons. Just trying to add merriment and fun to the season,” McGuinness said.”

Rob Fowler, leader of the Small Business Association of Michigan, tells WWJ it’s important to support local businesses, even if you don’t want to go out to shop.

“Be intentional about going to your local retailers and shopping there, rather than going to the big box stores,” Fowler said. “Lots of Michigan-based retailers sell online -- so I’m not suggesting you can’t do it online -- but you have to be intentional about trying to buy from Michigan companies or buying from your local retailers.”

The emphasis on shopping locally goes beyond just Small Business Saturday though, as retail experts say for every $100 spent at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy. The Michigan Retailers Association says one in five Michigan jobs are within the retail industry.

Not only are shoppers supporting the small business economy, they're often finding gifts they'd never see at a big box store.

“A lot of times these businesses are very crafty. They’re making their own products, so not only are you shopping locally, it’s also made here locally,” said planning and economic director of Macomb County Vicky Rowinski.

Local shoppers in Macomb County will even be eligible to win a gift card just for supporting small businesses. DETAILS HERE