Small Businesses Hope for Big Bucks Next Week

Nov. 26 promotion features $25 incentive from American Express to 'shop small.'

This seasonal greeting comes from hometown merchants: Don't be in thrall to the mall.

They're spreading the word via social media and window signs with help from American Express, organizer of the second annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26. The credit card issuer promotes a nationwide "day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends," it explains online. "We’re asking millions of Americans to 'shop small' at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. When we all shop small, it will be huge."

The firm puts money where its promotion is by offering a one-time $25 rebate to shoppers spending at least $25 at a small business after registering their credit card here. Any non-franchised locally owned shop qualifies if it accepts American Express.  

That covers lots of boutiques, bakers and basket-makers throughout the area.

Business boosters are joining the push. "Stay local," suggests Ferndale's Downtown Development Authority in a "holidates" roundup that includes Nov. 26. "Avoid the malls and support your favorite merchants on this day, dedicated nationwide to promoting the good businesses that keep local economies prospering.

Make no mistake that business owners are grateful. co-owners India Monet and Tajie Brown, of West Bloomfield, said that they planned the opening of their new shop right around the holiday season. "We're definitely ready to see a lot of customers come in for Black Friday and later, around Christmas and Hanukkah," said Monet, who opened the shop recently. "We hope that people are happy to keep that money in the community — everything we're doing, to support students and community organizations, to shopping — you want to keep West Bloomfield in the spotlight."

co-owner Pam Strauch said that locally owned shops suffer from a stigma that they are more expensive, especially around the holidays, than their counterpart chain stores.

"Some people shy away from local boutiques because they think they have a higher price point, but if you do the math, our prices are comparable if not less," said Strauch, who added that Lolly Ella will offer e-mail coupons over the holiday season to show its appreciation to a loyal fan base.

"We have a really strong presence here and people are very loyal and that's a blessing. That's why we chose the location we did."

Businesses supporting the cause include:


Tim Rath contributed to this report.


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