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‘Shop small’ in Treasure Valley on Small Business Saturday

Buskers, including a.k.a. Belle, perform outside the Record Exchange store in Downtown Boise in honor of Small Business Saturday in 2014.
Buskers, including a.k.a. Belle, perform outside the Record Exchange store in Downtown Boise in honor of Small Business Saturday in 2014. Idaho Statesman

If you are like me and didn’t even attempt to brave the Black Friday crowds, I can’t say I blame you.

But there’s one holiday shopping day I do get excited about: Small Business Saturday.

This tradition started in 2010 by American Express as a way to celebrate and support the hard work of our friends and neighbors. Each year the message and movement has increased. Last year, 95 million people shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.

Shopping at small businesses supports the local economy, promotes entrepreneurship and helps strengthen neighborhoods’ unique identities. The Better Business Bureau strives to help businesses of all sizes every day by setting standards for marketplace ethics and behavior and by connecting consumers to trustworthy businesses. BBB is pleased to support this tradition for the fifth year and encourages shoppers to support the local community.

BBB offers the following tips when you “shop small” on Small Business Saturday:

Find trustworthy businesses in your area. Visit bbb.org to search for businesses near you. You can filter your results by distance, type of business, and accreditation status. You can also visit shopsmall.org to find a list of participating businesses. To maximize your experience, make sure to read reviews and look up sales before you head out. And, if you have a great experience, leave a review!

Sign-up for email alerts. Many stores have Small Business Saturday specials just for people who have signed up to receive their emails.

Check social media. Many small businesses will advertise their SBS sales via social media, so be sure to check your favorite small businesses on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Use #ShopSmall to search for information or to share plans with your friends. Business owners, use this hashtag to join the action.

Ask for gift receipts and save warranty information. A gift receipt can be tucked into a gift item or card so that the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right. Be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.

Invite your friends and family. Supporting local businesses can be turned into a great event shared with friends and family. Visit your favorite local stores, try some new ones, get a head start on the holidays and enjoy time with loved ones.

Emily Valla, emily.valla@thebbb.org, is the Idaho marketplace director for the Better Business Bureau Northwest. To check a business or report a scam, go to www.bbb.org or call (208) 342-4649.

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