Small Business Saturday 2018: Neighborhood Champions of Main Street America

December 13, 2018 | Small Business Saturday 2018: Neighborhood Champions of Main Street America | By Ariana Pup, Communications Coordinator at the National Main Street Center | 
Christms_Parade_Photo_Courtesy_of_Visit_Benicia.jpgChristmas Parade in Benicia, California. Photo credit: Visit Benicia

On November 24, an estimated 104 million U.S. shoppers* reported to take part on Small Business Saturday. Our Main Streets worked hard to create an unforgettable day -- encouraging their communities and visitors to head downtown and shop local. In this roundup, read about the many accomplishments, events, activities and more from our network. We loved seeing all that Shop Small swag!

Batavia, Illinois 

Photo credit: Batavia MainStreet

All throughout November, Batavia MainStreet stirred excitement for Small Business Saturday on social media by featuring one different business every day with video and picture highlights. On the special day, the organization hosted a Small Business Saturday raffle and everyone who made a purchase was entered to win one of two $250 gift cards. The organization also combined the event with a toy drive, and those who donated received an additional entry into the raffle.


The Batavia High School graphics arts students designed “Shop Batavia” tote bags with customized logos. The shops handed out the bags to customers who made a minimum purchase. The tote bags received a positive response on social media, which helped to generate excitement for the special day.


Benicia, California

Photo credit: Photo by Deborah Housman 

The streets were filled with holiday cheer in Downtown Benicia on Small Business Saturday. Benicia Main Street hosted a Christmas Parade that included local marching bands, youth groups, car clubs – and let’s not forget about Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Holiday Market was planned in conjunction with the parade and included handcrafted and gourmet gift items.


"In its 24th year, the Christmas Parade and Holiday Market is a family-favorite, bringing residents downtown to enjoy the holiday season. Grab a hot beverage and morning treat from one of our downtown cafes to watch the parade and then head down to the market and surrounding stores for an afternoon of holiday shopping." Deborah Housman, Benicia Main Street Event Coordinator 

Charlevoix, Michigan

Photo credit: Michael Murphy IV Photography

This year, the Charlevoix Main Street DDA became a Neighborhood Champion and partnered with The Clothing Company, a local merchant to create a Shop Small float for their annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting. The event takes place each year on Black Friday. Main Street volunteers and The Clothing Company staff walked in the parade, sporting custom Shop Small sweatshirts with their city's logo on the back. Shop Small themed bags were stuffed with downtown maps and were handed out to the crowd along the parade route as a timely reminder to return tomorrow and shop locally for the holidays. An estimated 1,000 patrons attended the parade.

The announcer invited the crowd to Shop Small the next day on Saturday, Nov. 24 and to share photos on social media.

Downtown Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Photo credit: Downtown Lee's Summit Main Street

Small Business Saturday was a huge success in Downtown Lee’s Summit this year. Business participation climbed from 14 in 2014 to 45 businesses this year. Merchants embraced the message of encouraging shoppers to “Shop Small.” Each participating business was provided with “scratch to win” cards, provided by the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street organization. Shoppers had the chance to win a $10 or $250 gift card, or a grand prize of a weekend getaway to Downtown Washington, Missouri.  In addition to all the great swag from American Express, they passed out 3,000 reusable “Happy Holidays” tote bags to downtown consumers. All the promotion both on the national level with American Express and local efforts paid off. Retailers reported record sales, including a children’s bookstore who had their best day in over 25 years in business.

Longtime business owner, Amy Robertson with Cameron’s Home Furnishings noted, “It is such a vital day for us brick and mortar businesses. Sales from just that one Saturday equal about 40% of sales during my store’s slowest month.”

Georgia Main Street

The Georgia Main Street coordinating program produced a commercial for Small Business Saturday that aired statewide. Most of the filming took place in the Macon Main Street area. The featured businesses include: Karats and Keepsakes, Yvonne's Health Market, Travis Jean Emporium, Waiting On Martha Home, Macon Arts, Taste and See Coffee, Rumor Boutique, Head Over Heels and B. Monroe Salon.


Leavenworth, Kansas

Photo credit: Joyce DeMarco

Leavenworth Main Street hosted a Miracle on Main Street event. For every $25 in sales, customers were awarded one ticket to enter the $1,000 giveaway. A total of 10 winners each received $100 in “Main Street Bucks.” A win/win for everyone, the giveaway recirculates among downtown businesses.

The town reported 35 merchants participated. The town sold 3,016 tickets – creating nearly $75,000 in sales at their businesses. Throughout the entire downtown, additional sales of more than $150,000 were estimated. This promotion continues to grow and gain in popularity in Leavenworth, a large 28-block downtown in Kansas.

Sherry Brown, owner of the Kansas Country Store stated: “The community of Leavenworth, Kansas came out in grand fashion as they supported our Small Business Saturday. From the tiniest of Mom and Pop shop to every business downtown, we were flooded with happy customers choosing to support their local owners.”

Roslindale, Boston


Photo credit: Bruce Spero

Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) hosted its Annual Tree Lighting and Small Business Saturday simultaneously. This year boasted 350 attendees in Adams Park along with visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Mayor Walsh, RVMS volunteers, free hot cocoa and treats from local businesses, and ornament-making thanks to a local church. The Mayor also walked around the business district to shop locally and meet with business owners. Additionally, Roslindale received the Mayor's proclamation of Saturday, November 24, 2018 as Small Business Saturday in Boston and Roslindale.

"Small Business Saturday kicks off the holiday shopping season in Roslindale Village and all of Boston. Our local shops saw record sales and our Annual Tree Lighting brought out the whole community," says RVMS Director Alia Hamada Forrest.

Selah, Washington

Photo credit: Selah Downtown Association

This is the third year that Selah Downtown Association has led the charge on Small Business Saturday. This year, the town worked with the City of Selah to pass a proclamation from the Mayor designating November 24, 2018 as "Small Business Saturday."

As part of a larger marketing effort, small business owners were interviewed in the downtown district and their profiles were featured on social media leading up to SBS. On the special day, the Selah Downtown Association hosted a Welcome Station at a beloved clothing boutique in town, handing out #ShopSmall tote bags and entering shoppers to win prizes from downtown businesses. Everyone who stopped by the Welcome Station was automatically entered in the giveaway. Those that shopped locally and had the receipt to prove it, were given an additional entry.

“We were also out and about all day visiting local businesses and sharing all their posts on social media. We're a "lead by example" type of group, so we are always the first to "shop local" on SBS and post all about our experiences and what we purchased. It's become a fun shopping day for us as well!” ~Whitney Stohr, Executive Director


1The 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey was conducted by Teneo on behalf of American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).