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Small Business Saturday 2021: What's It All About?

Every time you grab a coffee from a family-owned cafe or purchase a piece of jewelry from a local designer, you’re choosing to shop small and make a difference in your community. 

November 17, 2021

Take a seat, Cyber Monday. You’re not the only game in town.

As much as we all enjoy online shopping, there’s a whole wide world of ways to purchase holiday gifts (or maybe just gifts for yourself) this season. 

Enter: Small Business Saturday 2021. 

If you’re going to spend on gifts this season, you may want also want to consider shopping small. Instead of scrolling around big-name store websites armed with promo codes and promises of free shipping or battling the mile-long lines at 4 am on Black Friday,  you can support your community this Small Business Saturday, November 27th, 2021. 

Learn more about what Small Business Saturday is, what’s in store this Small Business Saturday 2021, and some ideas for Small Business Saturday deals all across the country. 

What is Small Business Saturday?

American Express created the concept of Small Business Saturday. During the Great Recession of 2010, Amex decided to kick things off on the Saturday after Thanksgiving by encouraging people to “Shop Small” — focusing their purchases on small businesses, mom-and-pop shops, and retailers who faced a frontline fallout from the economic impact of the Great Recession. 

Fast forward 11 years later to a time when e-commerce has become king of the retail jungle ($4.28 trillion and growing in sales worldwide) and you might be able to see why Small Business Saturday is more important than ever. This Small Business Saturday 2021, as the world awakens from a global pandemic, “Shop Small” hits big for the small businesses who need local support to stay afloat. 

Why does “Shop Small” matter?

You might not realize it, but every time you grab a cup of coffee from a family-owned cafe or purchase a piece of jewelry from a local designer, you’re choosing to shop small and make a difference in your community. 

For small businesses, every purchase counts. The regular customers who keep coming back form a community that helps drive the business forward while creating a space for those who support it. 

Here are a few other reasons why shopping small can have big benefits:

  • It creates job opportunities. Small businesses need staff to operate, and their businesses offer jobs to people in the local community. 

  • It gives back to the community. By spending your money in your neighborhood, your sales tax is spent there, too. That means you’re helping fund parks, street improvements, public education and even life-saving services like firefighting. 

  • Local business supports local business. Small business owners in local communities will often partner with other local businesses, creating a network of small businesses that support one another and further strengthen the community. 

  • Superior customer service. Sure, a chatbot can be nice, but nothing says customer service like a genuine person. Many small business owners know customer service is what sets them apart, so they go the extra mile to make your shopping experience matter. 

Small Business Saturday deals 

Sometimes small businesses like to get good and creative about giving you Small Business Saturday deals with a side of experiences. 

You might:

  • Get your hands on some giveaways 

  • Enter into a contest or raffle 

  • Find vendors who partner with other businesses for added perks 

  • Nosh on complimentary food while you browse around 

  • Witness some local art 

  • Get the chance to support a local cause. Think: community with a side of commerce.

Aside from that, deals on actual products can be plentiful on Small Business Saturday. 

American Express put together a map of participating Small Business Saturday vendors that’s particularly helpful. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but here’s a taste of what’s on offer this Small Business Saturday 2021 in some of the communities around the country. 

San Francisco/Bay Area, CA 

In the heart of the Mission District, Heath Ceramics sits under a 60,000 square foot roof. It is chock full of intricate, handmade items — from ceramic dinnerware to decor + furniture, wallpaper, handbags, accessories, and more. The store started as a small-scale pottery company in 1948 and is still run by husband and wife Robin and Cathy. 

On Small Business Saturday, you can support creativity at its finest and purchase something unique like a limited edition teapot or a handmade pouch that’s folded like origami. 

Brooklyn, NY 

The Greenlight Bookstore in Flatbush is an independent general bookstore. Founded in 2009, the bookstore is passionate about helping the community by hosting various events, partnering with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and other local schools and selling everything from ebooks to audiobooks to puzzles and signed first editions. 

Boston, MA 

Shake the Tree in Boston’s Historic North End has been curating a captivating collection of clothing, home goods, handmade jewelry, apothecary, craft cocktail supplies, global cookbooks and more for over twenty years. 

There’s something for everyone at Shake the Tree,  and that’s kind of the point. The owner, Marian Klausner, has been so inspired by her world travels that she found a way to capture each endearing culture and sell it in her store. 

This one’s great to hit up in person for a memorable Small Business Saturday shopping session, but you can also purchase gift certificates online. 

Denver, CO 

From consignment to outdoor gear to bicycles and accessories, Wilderness Exchange Unlimited in Denver delivers a bonafide outdoor experience to anyone who walks through its doors. Established in 2000, Wilderness Exchange prides itself on making high-quality outdoor gear less expensive (because let’s face it, the cost can be prohibitive). In addition to grabbing great gear, you can attend a local event like a gear swap or learn how to build your own rock climbing wall. 

As for Small Business Saturday deals, there’s a lot to pick from, but their 2nds, Closeouts & Samples, offer “rock bottom prices” at 40% to 60% off of the regular retail price. 

Washington, D.C.

What ever happened to some good old-fashioned pen shopping? Luckily, if you’re looking for a more traditionalist approach to Small Business Saturday 2021, you can visit Fahrney's Pens. Founded immediately following the Great Depression in 1929, they’re still a family-owned business that sells everything from stationery to watches to jewelry to — you guessed it —  pens. Admit it: you’re intrigued. 

The Big Fall Pen Event is a week before Small Business Saturday, but you can go anytime to give the gift of fine writing. 

Miami, FL

If you have a little one you love in your life, NINI and LOLI could be a great place to spend your Small Business Saturday 2021. There’s no shortage of shopping options at the family-owned store, from apparel and furniture to strollers, cuddly stuffed animals and books. 

NINI and LOLI’s holiday gift guide helps you decide which Small Business Saturday deals are the right fit for your shopping goals. 

Support small businesses by eating local 

Don’t forget, your local restaurants are small businesses, too. After you’ve scored a few Small Business Saturday deals in your neck of the woods, you can celebrate your purchases or debrief on the deals at a nearby dining facility. 


Since the restaurant industry was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, doing what you can to support local eateries is another way to give back to the community. It’s pretty much a win-win. 

Making big purchases on Small Business Saturday

If you’re browsing for Small Business Saturday deals while staying conscious of credit card debt, consider Tally.†

Tally is a credit card payoff app that helps streamline the process of paying down your credit card debt, so you can keep shopping for the Small Business Saturday deals you love.

To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.