Pontiac, MI - Oakland County Executive David Coulter, retailers and civic leaders across Oakland County are appealing to shoppers that they can safely support small businesses in their communities this holiday season by participating in “Shop Small Saturday” on November 28 and continuing to shop locally the rest of the year.
Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the country. Founded by American Express (Amex), it is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since it started in 2010, consumers have reported spending an estimated $120 billion across all 10 Small Business Saturdays combined. That total includes an estimated 110 million people who participated in Small Business Saturday last year, generating record-setting sales with an estimated $19.6 billion in reported spending, based on Amex research.
“It’s exciting to see Oakland County merchants joining the nationwide Shop Small movement to celebrate small businesses on Saturday and every day,” Coulter said. “Customers who patronize our downtown shopping districts are helping them to thrive and stay vibrant – Oakland County’s mantra is shop local, eat local and spend local.”
The appeal by Oakland County leaders comes as public health officials advise in-store shoppers to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, washing hands regularly and maintaining a safe social distance.
Customers may also want to consider pursuing outdoor deliveries via curbside pickup, ordering online, shopping in-store before and after peak hours, and calling stores beforehand to ask if a clerk will video chat with you. More information about covid-related safety measures in Oakland County is at: www.oakgov.com/covid.
According to the Amex-commissioned Small Business Economic Impact Study, 62% of U.S. small businesses with fewer than 100 employees need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business.
“Even as we all work together to end the spread of COVID-19, consumers can still play a key role in helping Oakland County’s small businesses succeed and emerge from COVID,” said Main Street Oakland County Principal Planner John Bry.
Bry serves as the main contact between Oakland County and the 22 communities that comprise Main Street Oakland County, which is the only full-service, county-level Main Street program in the United States and the oldest Main Street program in Michigan.
“By shopping safely in the store or online, or getting takeout dining in your community, you’re demonstrating support for the small businesses in your neighborhood and in the community, you are proud to call home,” said Bry.
Retailers in Oakland County are successfully reassessing their business models during COVID-19, such as improving their online presence and shopping platforms, according to the 35th Oakland County Economic Outlook Summary released in September.
Holiday shopping is always a huge economic driver for retail, with many stores saying it can account for one-third of their annual revenue, the report noted.
While many stores were hurt by the lack of back-to-school shopping, their second-busiest season, retailers throughout the region are starting the holiday season early, such as by adding inventory earlier, analysts said.
Michigan consumers have been spending more than those in any other state in the nation since the pandemic, the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) reports. Statewide, consumer spending recovered to its pre-pandemic levels by the end of May, MRA data shows.
For more information on downtown holiday activities in Oakland County, visit:
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