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Incentives Mark a Second Small Business Saturday

Nov 25, 2011 11:56 AM   By Ricci Dipshan
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RAPAPORT... To support small business sales as Christmas season begins, a host of companies are supporting  the second annual Small Business Saturday, a one-day shopping event that was first started by American Express in 2010. This year, American Express is offering $25 worth of statement credit to eligible card holders who register their card and spend $25 or more at any qualifying small businesses on Saturday, November 26.  Likewise, FedEx has is distributed 40,000 $25 gift cards for use at small businesses, with the first 30,000 of those made available on a first-come-first-serve basis back on November 1st.

Internet and social media companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter are also supporting the cause by offering a free toolkit designed to help small business owners. This toolkit includes  $100 in free Facebook advertising to the first 10,000 business owners who sign up, free access to ''My Business Story,'' a tool for creating and posting personalized, professional-quality videos for YouTube, social networks and business websites, free LinkedIn advertising, and downloadable, point-of-purchase displays for small businesses to let customers know they are involved in the initiative.

A recent study by American Express on the state of small business in the U.S. shows a market that  is shrinking and losing ground to more established chain stores.  Locally owned independent retailers’ share of overall sales declined from 59 percent in 1990 to 48 percent in 2000, while the market share of independently owned and operated restaurants and bars declined from 71 percent to 64 percent over the same period. 

Small businesses are important not only for the jobs they create, but also for the value they bring to their neighborhoods.  The American Express study, for example, found that small business dominated districts helped the residential markets they serve gain an average of 50 percent home values versus their overall citywide markets during the past 14 years.

Looking at the top markets for small businesses, the study found New York City to have the most successful nonchain retailers, rating a 287 on the firm’s index, compared with the national average of 200. Most of the cities at the top of the ranking are known for tough regulations, geographic constraints and vibrant all-day urban shopping districts. Other cities ranking high were San Francisco (250); Washington, D.C. (238); Boston (233); and Philadelphia (224).

Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president of American Express’ OPEN card for small businesses, expressed hope that this year’s Small Business Saturday will prove more prosperous than the first one in  2010.   “Last year, we saw a 28 percent rise in sales volume for our small business merchants versus the same day in 2009.  An all-star line-up of partners is coming together to provide the tools to help make this year even more impactful for small business owners throughout the country.”
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Tags: american, American Express, American Express’ OPEN, business, express, facebook, Fed Ex, Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, Ricci Dipshan, saturday, shop, small, Small Business Saturday, Twitter
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