This is the second year that organizers have put together the so-called Small Business Saturday. It is meant to be sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a day to support local businesses.
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett was on hand to support the day's activities in Chicago's Hyde Park community, joining small business owners from the area. Throughout the day, they will highlight the importance of shopping at small businesses and just how critical the businesses are to the health and vitality of the economy, locally and nationally.
"Our small businesses in neighborhoods across America are the backbone of our industry. They are the job creators. Two out of every three jobs come from small businesse, and the owners and people who work in them, they are the fabric of our community," said Jarrett. "They're giving back to the community in so many ways, and today is a way where everyone from the president to millions of Americans can patronize their local small businesses, buy something, whether it is a small present, just a little something to give our economy the jolt that it needs. So, we're encouraging everyone across America, go to your neighborhood store and buy a little something and help our small businesses."
According to American Express, who is sponsoring the event, the impact of small retailers on the Chicago economy is huge -- although small businesses have been hurt in recent years. Chicago-area restaurants and bars remain the strongest of those retailers --losing the least in terms of market share -- while independent retail shops continue to lose ground to the big national chains.
"I think it's important to support your neighborhood, the mom-and-pop operations, because these are the majority of the businesses that are in the neighborhood," said Pattie Kidwell, owner of Chant restaurant on East 53rd Street.
It is estimated that some 89 million consumers nationwide will "shop small" Saturday.
Organizers and small business owners hope the attention garnered from the day's activities will motivate even more people to do so.