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Think small Saturday
Shopping effort aids Buy Local
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Forsyth County News

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More information on Small Business Saturday can be found online at

Sandwiched between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” a new Thanksgiving weekend shopping initiative has been launched to champion small businesses.

Small Business Saturday, which is this Saturday, is a day created by American Express “to come together in support of the small businesses we love.”

According to the company, these are “the shops and restaurants that employ our neighbors and reinvest our money close to home ... the businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and local economies.”

Cris Willis, co-owner of Parsons Gifts & Collectibles in Cumming said she signed up for the initiative right away and is excited to see the results.

“I hope it helps,” she said. “I’ve been trying to tell everybody ... trying to get the word out there to come and shop at Parsons on Saturday.

“I’m very impressed with American Express for doing this.”

Anyone can participate by shopping at a local small business, but there are extra incentives for American Express cardholders and small businesses that accept the credit card.

Cardholders will receive a $25 statement credit when they register and spend $25 or more at a small business that accepts American Express cards.

“I think small business is sort of the backbone of America and so I think people want to support the guy next door and realize that this is the people in your community,” Willis said. “We have a great community and our customers are wonderful.”

James McCoy, president and chief executive officer of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said Small Business Saturday plays to the organization’s Buy Local initiative.

For two years, the chamber, local governments and business community have been promoting Buy Local, McCoy said.

There have been some incentives, but he said the effort is mostly about “reminding people of the power of buying local and reinvesting in their own community.”

McCoy said this was a good year to start Small Business Saturday with the way the economy has turned around.

“I think this holiday season, we’re going to see a marked increase in spending,” he said. “I think there’s a lot more confidence in the market and a lot more confidence in our economy and in our future.”

For Willis, her confidence is in the loyal customers of her Lakeland Plaza business.

“Everybody I’ve talked to about it has been very excited,” she said of Small Business Saturday. “I know there are many people that love Parsons and love that we’re a family-owned business and that right there touches people emotionally and they’re proud of that being in their community and they’re proud of all the other independent business owners and want to support them too.”