Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Small Business Saturday, November 29th, 2014 and shopping locally

The holiday shopping season is touched off by so called "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving. Companies offer lots of deal busters to get shoppers in stores, opening as early as midnight--although in the last few years some companies have started opening on Thanksgiving Day.

Small Business Saturday is an event created a few years ago to promote holiday shopping at local and independently owned businesses, as opposed to how most holiday shopping is focused on big box stores and national chains,  I believe that the event was created by the American Independent Business Alliance, the group that actively promotes the "Shop Local" movement.

But now it's sponsored by American Express, which offers inducements to card members as an incentive to shop local on that day.

Other "interest groups" have jumped on the bandwagon.  E-commerce retail aims to make the Monday after Thanksgiving their biggest shopping day of the season and year, calling it Cyber Monday, while nonprofit organizations promote receiving fundraising donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday.

I've been meaning to write about business district promotion, because some communities do it very well, supporting promotion on the part of the local downtown or community business districts in a programmed, systematic fashion, while others don't do a very good job at all.

One example of how a county business promotion division is using "Small Business Saturday" as a way to promote its businesses and business districts is Macomb County, Michigan.  See "Macomb County Shops Make Big Deal of Small Business Saturday," C&G Newspapers.

During the holidays, many communities do a great job of organizing a wide variety of events and promotions.  In the DC region, Fredericksburg, Virginia and Frederick, Maryland do a  particularly good job.

The Petworth district in DC has a holiday crafts fair on Saturday December 13th, and if it's like last year, the local library holds its annual book sale on the same day, restaurants have specials, etc.

DC has its Downtown Holiday Fair, while Baltimore is modeling a similar event after the traditional European Christmas Markets.

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