Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday — by now you’ve been inundated with the barrage of holiday season promotions and news that come around this time of year. Whether it’s the protest against retail workers having to work on Thanksgiving, or the holiday sales forecasts, we can’t ignore how big this time of year is for the retail industry.

In the last few years, we’ve also been introduced to a new holiday shopping day — Small Business Saturday. Created by American Express in 2010, it introduced the concept of shopping small business during a time when consumers are normally inundated with promotions from big box and corporate stores. It helps draw attention to the small business, and highlight a very important part of our nation’s economy.

small business saturday 2015

In 2011, the United States Senate officially recognized Small Business Saturday, and the day has become part of the American lexicon ever since. In 2012, the day attracted nearly 74 million shoppers, and in 2014 it attracted 88 million shoppers, spending nearly $14.3 billion.

All types of small businesses participate in the event. From restaurants to clothing boutiques, small businesses can take advantage of the marketing collateral provided on the Shop Small website.

Why shop small business? Not only are you supporting your neighbors, but you are putting money back into the local economy. There are also a lot of unique types of products that one cannot find in traditional big box stores. The day has inspired many to continue the idea of shopping small throughout the year.

Many small businesses are promoting their wares on social media and through their own websites; be sure to go online and seek out promotions going on for Small Business Saturday!