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Small Business Saturday: Merchants Counting on Consumer Support More Than Ever

Small businesses have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, making Small Business Saturday in 2020 more vital than ever.

Independently owned boutiques, gift shops, mom-and-pop hardware stores, restaurants and the like are facing unprecedented challenges due to coronavirus-related restrictions and shutdowns.

Temporary closures, capacity restrictions, decreased demand for products and services and delays due to supply-chain issues have led to unprecedented challenges for small business owners.

But the “Shop Small” movement continues amid these hardships.

“This holiday season looks a little different, but we can still share joy,” American Express, which established Small Business Saturday in 2010, said in a statement. “Shop small and support your favorite small businesses — both in store and online — all holiday season long.”

Sixty-two percent of small businesses in the U.S. need to see sales income return to the same rate it was pre-pandemic before the end of the year to stay in business, according to American Express.

These businesses, many family-owned, were already fighting for survival against malls, big box stores and online retailers before the pandemic.

“Small businesses have an immeasurable effect on the quality of life in neighborhoods by providing necessary resources and supporting a local ecosystem that includes charitable organizations, schools and churches,” said Caroline Connors, executive director of the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association, an organization that supports small businesses on the South Side of Chicago.

Since 2010, local business supporters have spent more than $100 billion on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express.

A Shop Small Consumer Impact survey from American Express before the pandemic found that 73% of people think empty storefronts are a national issue, and 84% agree the increase in empty storefronts and the closing of small, independently owned businesses negatively affect their local communities.

The survey showed that when consumers are aware of the impact of spending their dollars locally, 75% said they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from small, independently owned businesses.

For every dollar spent at a U.S. small business, approximately 67 cents stays in the local community, according to American Express. This helps independent shops and restaurants keep their doors open and meet pay for their workers — your neighbors.

That amounts to about $67 billion that has stayed in local communities since Small Business Saturday began, according to American Express.

“With so many small businesses hit hard in 2020, it’s more important than ever to shop locally this holiday season to ensure they are able to continue operating in 2021,” Connors said.

To see the story by Jacob Baumgart as it originally appeared on Patch.com, click here