Shop Small this Holiday Season

by Jenny VanPelt, Lorenz Corporation

It’s music to many of our ears when we hear that “buy local” and “shop small” are growing movements in communities around the United States, Canada, and Europe. In response to the effects of retail big box stores and online giants in the marketplace, business and community leaders are coming together to recognize and promote the many positive impacts of a strong local economy. Those effects come as no surprise to brick-and-mortar music store owners—dollars spent at local businesses stay in the community, contribute to job growth, and reinforce local identities and connections within the community.

Started in 2010 by American Express and the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation as a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is an annual event that successfully continues to bring international attention to the benefits of shopping small. Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the U.S., participating retailers encourage consumers to support their communities by spending their holiday dollars at local businesses. Along with celebrating and reinforcing the strength of their communities, participants have also found a welcome chance to highlight products and services that can’t be found in big box stores or from online vendors. Response in the U.S. was strong enough to inspire the UK to start its own version of Small Business Saturday in 2013, and in 2016 American Express reported that more than 95 million shoppers spent $15.4 billion as part of the event.

This year, Small Business Saturday is set for November 25 in the U.S. and December 2 in the UK. Getting involved offers music retailers a great opportunity to increase visibility in your communities, to promote holiday sales, and to attract attention to other events at your store. To help you get started, here’s a short list of resources and ideas:

  1. Sign up as an official participant. You can find more information here for the U.S. event and here for the UK event.
  2. Make use of the Small Business Saturday promotional tools.
  3. Become an official Neighborhood Champion and plan events with other businesses in your community to encourage more participation.
  4. Join the Small Business Saturday community on Facebook and use #SmallBusinessSaturday in your social media campaigns this holiday season.
  5. Partner with your vendors to create special offers for customers who visit your store of Small Business Saturday.
  6. Make your store a neighborhood destination by hosting open lessons, performances by teachers, or mini in-store concerts.
  7. Create a drawing to capture contact information from new customers.

Here’s to all of the music stores that contribute to strong local business communities and encouraging consumers to shop small this holiday season!