Saturday is Small Business Saturday – also known as Shop Local Saturday and Shop Small Saturday. Shoppers are encouraged to patronize locally owned businesses, and some towns and cities have programs promoting local shopping on that day.
“Wherever I go in Maine and New England, I hear similar stories about how communities have seen small businesses rebuild downtowns and inspire a sense of community,” said Wendell G. Davis, New England regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration in a news release. “By offering unique experiences and products, these entrepreneurs have brought a new sense of vitality to their hometowns and allow customers to have a tangible connection to the gifts they buy for the holidays.
2019 is the 10th year that the SBA has celebrated Small Business Saturday, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was started by American Express in 2010.
Small local businesses generate two out of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services to America’s communities 365 days a year, the SBA said. In 2018, an estimated 104 million U.S. consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, generating more than $17 billion in revenue across the country. That’s money that goes directly back into our local communities. Some 67 cents of every dollar spent in a local small business stays in that community, meaning more than $11 billion is being reinvested in communities across the U.S. just from one day.
“Let’s make sure we help support the businesses that sponsor our Little League teams, make charitable contributions within the community, whose kids go to school with our kids,” Davis said. “Please remember to shop and dine small not only on Saturday, Nov. 30, but throughout the holiday season and year round too. And don’t forget to share your holiday adventures by using the hashtag #ShopSmall on all of your social media whenever you shop or eat at a local small business.”
Some area communities that have special promotions include:
Augusta, where the city’s Riverfront Holiday and Tree Lighting downtown is also being celebrated on Small Business Saturday.
Brunswick is also hosting its annual tree lighting with Santa on the Town Mall on Saturday, and many local businesses have special promotions and discounts.
Farmington, where two dozen businesses on Main Street, Broadway and Front Street are hosting special events, discounts and prizes, sponsored by the Farmington Downtown Association.
Gardiner, where Gardiner Main Street is hosting a welcome table inside Gardiner Co-op & Cafe, which will offer free reusable shopping bags along with other giveaways. Participants can play the Shop Small Gardiner Challenge to win prizes, and Shop Small elves will be on Water Street to help shoppers find the items on their list.
Rangeley and Oquossoc, where more than 40 businesses are participating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a brochure is available from the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce listing participating businesses. The chamber office also will have free cookies and a tote bag, as well as a prize drawing.
Skowhegan, which is offering a Passports to Savings program, at which participating locations will offer discounts and those who get their passports checked will be entered in drawing for a gift card at a locally owned business of their choice.