Small Business Saturday

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Good afternoon everyone,

American Express is again asking Delawareans to shop on Small Business Saturday.

The long-running event, which has support from downtown organizations in Delaware and elsewhere, comes the day after a busy Black Friday. Often bypassed on the day after Thanksgiving are small retailers as the superstores roll out big discounts on selected items.

You may see some pushback on social media with posts that urge shoppers to bring their cash to Small Business Saturday.

After all, American Express is still the poster child for “swipe fees” charged to merchants. Amex counters by noting that its fees have become more competitive. It has also ramped up efforts to sign up more merchants but felt the sting of losing warehouse giant Costco, which switched to VISA.

For a business with stiff price competition (your independent strip mall pizza place might be an example) swipe fees can be a serious matter – hence the $7 to $10 minimum purchases or added fees.

Amex, like rivals Visa, Mastercard and Discover, counters the cash only argument with data that indicates cardholders are likely to spend more at their favorite store or restaurant, often on items with a higher profit margin.

There are also costs that come with not accepting cards. We saw a Discover customer walk away when their card was not accepted. Discover pioneered the cashback feature that built deep loyalty from longtime customers.

In the meantime, here are some good reasons for shopping and dining on Small Business Saturday and other days for that matter from Independent We Stand, a Virginia Beach-based organization.

  • Independent retailers return three times more money, per dollar of sales, to local economies than national chains and big box stores.Further, independent restaurants return two times more money per dollar of sales than national chain restaurants.
  • Purchasing home improvement products from locally-owned retailers generates twice as much local economic activity than purchases made at big boxes and chain stores.
  • Small businesses donate two times more to local charities than national chains and big boxes.

Here’s wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. Our newsletter returns on Monday. – Doug and Sharon Rainey.

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