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The "Small Business Saturday" campaign on Saturday focused on social networking to get traffic into small businesses between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the busiest shopping days of the year. Sponsor American Express has given 10,000 business owners $100 worth of free Facebook advertising to help drive online buzz and get customers into their stores. It is also giving $25 credits to American Express cardholders who register and shop at small businesses on Saturday.
"For every $100 spent . . . $68 returns back to the local economy from payroll and taxes to related business expenditures," Baxter said in a phone interview last week. That local return drops to $43 if spent in a big-box store, she said.
The event is not meant to discourage people from shopping at larger chains or online. Rather, its advocates hope to encourage consumers to dedicate a percentage of their holiday shopping budget to local businesses -- be it by having dinner at a local restaurant or buying gifts at neighborhood stores.