We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard about Small Business Saturday before?

Tote bags promoting the "Shop Small" Small Business Saturday initiative, held the Saturday after Black Friday, sit on seats prior to an event with billionaire Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Kenneth "Ken" Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express Co., not pictured, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s entry into the U.S. runs through small businesses, the same path the online marketplace took in China, Ma said. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PC: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Small Business Saturday is a day to support small businesses in your community or wherever you’re staying this weekend and recognize the impact they have on our communities! Started in 2010, this day was created in an effort to change people’s focus from big box stores and online shopping to the small and local places in their very own towns. The idea is wonderful, so here are three great reasons to participate in Small Business Saturday.

Local businesses specifically impact your own community

Small businesses aren’t looking through a lens of impacting an entire country or multiple countries; they’re focused on working for, supporting, and serving well the communities they’re located in. They are more likely to give back, and are also more likely to truly create a wonderful atmosphere and experience for the local community. Sure, you could go buy coffee from Starbucks, but why not buy it from the coffee shop in your very own community that hires your neighbors, hosts local musicians multiple times a month, and gives a part of their proceeds to local nonprofits?

Local goods are unique

When you buy things from a box store, you are buying products that are mass made, and will be bought by hundreds of other people. When you buy from small businesses, you are able to get your hands on unique, one-of-a-kind (or produced in very small numbers) types of goods. Think about it-this Christmas, would you rather receive something from Bath and Body Works, or something made by a local soapmaker using essential oils? Would you rather receive a piece for your home from Target, or something that has been hand-lettered, uniquely printed, or custom painted? Unique goods are just so much satisfying personally, and they also add a very sweet touch when you give them as gifts.

Environmental impact

Although there are environmentally friendly chain stores, they are an anomaly. You are much more likely to find a small business that cares about their environmental impact. Whether it comes in the form of creating a green business, using only organic products, or pushing recycling as much as possible, the majority of the small businesses I shop at are working to implement environmentally friendly business practices. Plus, these businesses typically don’t create the environmental footprint from shipping and manufacturing that big businesses do. Show the planet some love and shop local!

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PC: Downtown Boulder

Knowing that your money is going to a local business that is working hard for the community, the environment, and to create unique goods and experiences is extremely satisfying. Get out tomorrow and shop local!

Find a list of small businesses that are specifically partnering for Small Business Saturday in your area here.

Follow the author’s other work here, or follow her on Twitter: @kovanderhart

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