While Black Friday draws in shoppers as early as Thursday night, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce hopes shoppers save some of their dollars for some local businesses later in the weekend.
Small Business Saturday, happening this weekend, began in 2010. According to Brandon Campbell, director of small business and inclusion for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the chamber aims to promote local shopping throughout the Little Rock area in order to support local business owners.
"We also want to encourage as many people as possible across this region to go out and just shop small. To promote the small businesses, to show them that they are important to our communities," Campbell said.
The chamber is one of almost 40 entities in Arkansas this year that serves as an American Express Neighborhood Champion for the shopping day. According to Campbell, one of the chamber's responsibilities is to highlight the work several shopping districts in the Little Rock area are doing to promote the day.
"The River Market District is doing their 'Think Big, Shop Small' event on Saturday. The Heights is doing some small business activities. The Hillcrest area as well too," Campbell said. While the area does economically benefit from all shopping, including larger retail stores, Campbell says the community profits more from small business purchases.
"Two thirds of every dollar, which is roughly 67 cents, that is spent on a small business in the United States, stays in that local community. So you can just imagine the economic impact that it could have on many communities across this area here in Little Rock," Campbell said.
Campbell encourages shoppers to "think big and shop small" and to be intentional with their shopping. That could mean going to local businesses for more than just holiday gifts.
"When you're thinking about exercising, maybe…go to that local mom and pop gym or when you go grocery shopping, instead of going to a major chain maybe there is a local shop around that you can go and buy some groceries from," Campbell said.
While the chamber does not have predictions on how much money they anticipate shoppers will spend on Saturday, Campbell says if this year is anything like last year, when shoppers spent $17.8 billion in one day nationwide, he is hopeful businesses will see plenty of customers this weekend.
"I’m hopeful that it could be a record turnout for small business and that small businesses continue to thrive and do well on small business Saturday and beyond," Campbell said.