Celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 by Shopping Local
by Peter von Buol
Celebrate the ninth annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 by shopping at the area’s small businesses in Lincoln Square, Ravenswood and Northcenter.
Started in 2010 by the American Express, Small Business Saturday occurs on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Within less than a decade, the initiative has reportedly been wildly successful in boosting interest in locally-owned stores and restaurants. According to the results of the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey by the National Federation of Independent Business and sponsored by American Express, an estimated 108 million American consumers had reported they had shopped or dined on last year’s Small Business Saturday.
“Year after year, Small Business Saturday receives remarkable support from shoppers and communities nationwide. It’s encouraging to see Small Business Saturday continue to gain momentum as more people recognize the benefits that independently owned businesses bring to their neighborhoods – and our country as a whole,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, executive vice president at American Express in a written statement.
For the past three years, Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers and the city’s department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection have worked together with the Small Business Saturday Coalition, a national organization, to promote Small Business Saturday in Chicago through local media and a citywide print and digital-media advertising campaign.
Locally, Small Business Saturday will be a day to celebrate the start of the holiday shopping season with festive celebrations. On that day, the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce will transform Lincoln Square into a traditional holiday wonderland, complete with festive decorations. Carolers will perform in Victorian period costumes from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the official lighting of the tree in Giddings Square will occur in the evening at 5:30. DANK Haus, the German American Cultural Center, 4740 N. Western, will be joining the celebration in Giddings Plaza from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to serve German Glühwein (spiced wine) and hot apple cider.
Not to be left of the fun, activities will also be occurring on Damen Avenue. Santa Claus will be available for Ravenswood Pictures with Santa at the Perfect Cup Café, 4700 N. Damen Ave. and spectacular ice sculptures will be found on Damen Ave. between Argyle and Leland Avenue. Carving demonstrations will occur at 11:00 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. at locations yet to be determined.
According to the chamber officials, local businesses will be offering shoppers special incentives, including promotions and discounts. Local restaurants will be showcasing specially-prepared menu items.
The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce is also participating on Small Business Saturday. Representatives from the organization will be at the Montrose Brown Line station from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. to hand out free canvas shopping-bags and retail maps. They will also provide information about Unwrap Ravenswood, a holiday rewards program through which the first 150 local shoppers can earn $75 in gift cards to local businesses. To be eligible, shoppers must shop at a minimum of three qualifying businesses. Purchases must have been made during the holiday shopping season (Nov. 24 through Dec. 24).
The Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce has its own Unwrap Lincoln Square Ravenswood program. Holiday Shoppers that direct a portion of their shopping budget to the local community of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood will be eligible for a prize. The first 150 shoppers that spend $300 between a minimum of 3 local businesses will receive a $50 Bridgeview Bank Visa Gift Card for the local community businesses. Purchases must be made during the holiday shopping season (Nov. 24 through Dec. 24).
On Small Business Saturday, the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce has invited a very special guest, Santa Claus, to their offices at 4054 N. Lincoln Avenue. He will be available for photographs from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Children will be invited to share their lists with Santa and will also be able to enjoy refreshments, movies, music and a craft project.
As part of Small Business Saturday, the chamber will offer special discounts and promotions from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
“Our neighborhood businesses are rolling out the red carpet and inviting you to stop in for one day of special discounts and promotions. Shop for the holidays, get your nails done, enjoy lunch and drinks with your friends and much more,” chamber officials said in a written statement.
According to the results of the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, awareness of Small Business Saturdays continues to increase. Last year, an estimated 70 percent of U.S consumers had responded that they had been aware of Small Business Saturday. Shoppers reported that not only did they shop and dine at local bricks and mortar stores, about 35 percent reported that they “Shopped Small” online on Nov. 25.
The 2017 Small Business Saturday 50-State Survey, also released by the NFIB and American Express, showed 73 percent of consumers who reportedly “Shopped Small” at independently owned retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday did so with their family or friends. More than 64 percent of the respondents said they chose to shop or dine at small, independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday to support their local community.