Move over Black Friday — Small Business Saturday is almost here. Eight years ago American Express decided to take back local shopping by partnering with businesses around the country for a day dedicated to the little guy. Following Black Friday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), this year it falls on Nov. 25.

“We are big, big supporters of Small Business Saturday,” said Liz Swaine, executive director for the Downtown Development Authority. “DDA is what’s called a ‘Neighborhood Champion’ for SBS. We have signed up with sponsor American Express and will have lots of goodies to give out to our downtown businesses and shoppers.”

Last year, shoppers spent $15.4 billion nationwide at local restaurants and retailers, according to American Express. Swaine says she hopes to extend that holiday rush by offering a secondary shopping event Dec. 3-9 — Shop Local Artist Week.

“During Shop Local Artist week, we will have art-themed events at a number of downtown venues, our December Downtown Artwalk will be huge (all of downtown will be involved and there will be trolley service),” Swaine said.

If you don’t think shopping local has an impact, think about it like this: every time you spend money at a brick and mortar or online business, you’re putting dinner on someone’s table. You’re helping someone save for his or her first home. You’re giving someone’s child a better future.

If you’re considering hitting the lines on Black Friday (or Thursday), consider shopping small on Saturday, too — your community will thank you.

Want to stay in the know about savings and sales? Here are four tips to make sure you score big with local goodies:

Plan ahead

If you’re a frequent shopper with your business of choice, then you most likely already know what they’ve got coming. Some businesses and brands offer special discounts, others partner up with other businesses for big savings. It’s good to know if their hours will be any different to reflect the shopping day, too. Also, if you plan on going somewhere with less than stellar parking and you’re meeting friends, carpool together.

Subscribe online

This puts you one step ahead of everyone else. One of the biggest ways to avoid missing out on sales is by subscribing to businesses and brands online via social media or their website. Subscribing allows you to receive updates first, and that translates into big savings sometimes. Loyalty programs are also an option.

Shop strategically

Before you shop, plan your attack by mapping out the most important places. Big items like televisions, computers and appliances are the big hit on Friday, but you can find those locally, too. It’s the perfect time for gifts, so make sure to have your list ready to go.

Ask about layaway
While not all businesses have this option, it’s something to think about if you have a higher priced item. Many local businesses are more than willing to work with you, so just make sure to ask if you need to.  That’s the big difference between Small Business Saturday and Black Friday — small businesses truly care about their clients. That’s not to discount larger retailers, but the sort of compassion and quality you’ll find at a smaller, locally owned store is no comparison.

SHOPPING DOWNTOWN

Plazas, stand alone businesses, restaurants and other localities will celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25 across the country, including downtown Shreveport.

Participating businesses include: artspace, Robinson Film Center, Rhino Coffee, Fully Stacked, Nicky’s, Bon Temps Coffee Bar, Artipsy, Fatty Arbuckles, Remington Suite, Appli-K’s, Louisiana Specialty Gifts, Bon Asian, The Agora Borealis, Parish Taceaux, Lena’s Shoes, Norsworthy Gallery, Definition Industries, Rydaz Eatery and Bar, SALT restaurant, the casinos and more.

Visits (and purchases) at the participating businesses will enter people into drawings for “Downtown Bucks” that they will be able to use at the location of their choice. The Downtown Development Authority will have special events planned throughout the day and will be the kickoff to Shreveport-Bossier City’s holiday festivities on the riverfront.