Marshall, Michigan
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Small Business, Big Impact: Holiday Shopping Fuels Community Spirit All Year Long

In 2023, 27% of holiday shoppers aim to boost their patronage of local and small businesses, reinforcing their commitment to supporting their community rather than lining the pockets of large corporations.

According to a new NerdWallet survey, about 222 million Americans, representing 85% of shoppers, are set to purchase gifts for friends and family, with an average spending of $831, amounting to more than $184 billion in holiday gifts this year. 

Additionally, some are looking to make a positive impact with their spending; over a quarter of 2023 holiday shoppers say they plan to shop more at local small businesses to support their community.

Related: 25 Best Towns in Michigan for Shopping Local This Holiday Season

Shop Local Small Business Saturday

Shopping on Small Business Saturday

2023 Small Business Saturday will take place on November 25.

Small Business Saturday (SBS), established in 2010 by American Express (AmEx), is an annual event with growing national significance.

Strategically positioned between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it encourages consumers to prioritize shopping at local and independent businesses. The annual event has evolved into a nationwide movement, fostering community support and economic vitality. 

Its significance lies in nurturing small businesses, which serve as the lifeblood of local economies. Rallying shoppers to explore unique offerings in their communities, SBS contributes substantially to sustaining vibrant neighborhoods and preserving local traditions while providing a platform for these small businesses to thrive amidst competition from retail giants. 

Small Business Saturday Button
Photo Courtesy of Small Business Saturday

Shoppers Prefer to Support Small Businesses

Many holiday shoppers strongly prefer to support local businesses when buying gifts, citing the desire to strengthen their community as a primary motivation.

AmEx estimates that for every $100 spent at local small businesses during the holiday season, approximately $68 to $73 stays within the local community. Additionally, each dollar spent generated an additional $0.48 in local business activity due to employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services.

Tiffany McCauley of The Gracious Pantry said, “It’s important to me to shop local for the holidays because, as a business owner, I understand how much it matters to a business owner’s livelihood. This country is built off of the small business owner. If we don’t support them, we lose a lot.”

This economic retention amplifies the benefits, enabling communities to invest in infrastructure, education, and healthcare. Local small businesses, collectively, have a substantial footprint, making them a cornerstone of sustainable and resilient economies.

Small businesses play a vital role as the backbone of local economies, with their economic significance extending far beyond their modest size. Beyond donating 250% more than large businesses to community causes, they contribute significantly to local tax revenue and neighborhood revitalization. 

Spending money at small businesses has a profound economic impact that ripples through communities. These enterprises are not just about commerce; they are the lifeblood of local economies. 

When consumers shop locally, they inject revenue directly into their communities, creating jobs, supporting families, and bolstering neighborhood services. Supporting small enterprises is pivotal for sustaining robust, resilient communities.

“When I shop local for the holidays I know that the money I use to purchase gifts is going directly to the family or community I purchased the items in. I can see the people I’m helping!” according to Mikkel Woodruff, Editor of Sometimes Sailing.

“Additionally, there’s something wonderful about a shop that curates local goods, which makes the gifts extra special and often hard to find elsewhere.”

Marshall, Michigan
Marshall, Michigan | photo via @mredtech

Small Business Support Goes Beyond Holiday Gifts

Marshall, Michigan, nestled at the intersection of I-94 and I-69 halfway between Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, is one such town that can testify to the impact of holiday shoppers spending their dollars at local small businesses. 

“It’s incredibly important to understand how impactful it is to shop local. The money you put into your community comes back through road repairs, recreational opportunities, fire and police protection, and helps keep a healthy, thriving community for you and your family to call home. When shopping local, you’re receiving quality and convenience,” Amy Peterson Director of Marketing at Choose Marshall shared with Awesome Mitten. 

Hemmingsen Drug Store is a prime example of a small business that invests in the local community. Small business owners Chris and Mindy Munden are known for their generosity in supporting the local FFA, their sponsorship of local charities, and their involvement in the Marshall community.

“We’re proud of the hard work these kids do to raise such fine animals. By purchasing livestock, we’re investing in our community’s future farmers!” the Mundens said about their 2023 FFA fair purchases which were fueled by the Marshall community choosing to shop local.

Marshall | photo via jimhaadsma

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Shoppers’ spending on Small Business Saturday extends beyond retail stores, benefiting local restaurants and eateries. This surge in patronage on this special day provides a much-needed boost to the hospitality industry. When people explore their local communities, they often dine out or order takeout from nearby restaurants. 

This increase in foot traffic and orders translates into higher revenue for local eateries, helping them thrive during a time when competition is fierce. The support for local restaurants strengthens the fabric of the community, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared experiences. 

Shop Marshall Michigan, run by the Marshall Retailers Association, understands the impact and organizes Shop Small Saturday each year to draw attention to the small businesses in Marshall during the holiday shopping season.

“With its magical light displays and unique locally-owned stores and restaurants, shopping downtown Marshall during the holidays provides real Hallmark movie-like vibes,” according to Caryn Drenth, local shop owner and president of the Marshall Retailers Association.

On Shop Small Saturday, downtown Marshall shops plan to unveil a full day of holiday enchantment, featuring special deals and promotions. They will issue Shop Small Passports to customers who can collect stamps with each store visit and purchase. Customers can then submit these passports for a chance to win prizes and gift cards. Additionally, the Marshall Social District, stretching along the downtown area, will offer adult beverages for customers to enjoy as they browse and buy.

Peterson said, “In Marshall, unique shops, festive music, carriage rides, a mile-long drive-through lights display, and even Santa are all here to welcome you! We invite you to visit Marshall during the most wonderful time of the year!”

So grab a nut roll from Louie’s Bakery, pop into unique boutiques like The Mole Hole and Living MI, and enjoy the holiday atmosphere of this small town in Michigan knowing that the dollars spent will go far beyond the gifts under the tree this year.

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