November 01, 2020 | Marlin Staff Writer

Small Business Saturday might be nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but let’s not give it the “middle child” treatment. After all, it’s the perfect excuse to support local shops, eateries, and service providers. And small businesses need support during Small Business Saturday 2020 more than ever.

In 2019, this single-day celebration of community-focused commerce encouraged transactions totaling $19.6 billion, according to American Express. However, many of the businesses that benefited from that record-shattering figure were put in tough financial situations only a few months later. Even now, the specter of a second coronavirus wave may be keeping people from fully patronizing neighborhood companies.

There’s a silver lining here, though: Even if you’re sheltering at home and going out less often, you can still give back to small local stores and restaurants on Small Business Saturday. Doing so will help keep the entrepreneurs in your area afloat as they recover from 2020.

What are our suggestions for conducting a chunk of your holiday shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Check out our favorite ways to support local businesses:

1. Shop from your sofa.

Social distancing? Not a problem. See if your favorite small businesses have an online component, such as an e-commerce website or even an Etsy store, and browse to your heart’s content. If your favorite shop doesn’t offer online sales, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to place an order for your favorite item!

When you find great merchandise at a price that makes you smile, consider buying something for friends and loved ones. Not only will you be getting terrific deals — you’ll find plenty of sales on Small Business Saturday — but you might be able to pick up your item via safe, convenient curbside service.

2. Order in.

Who doesn’t like to take a night off from cooking and baking? On Small Business Saturday, think about the mom-and-pop or local restaurants you haven’t visited in a while but have always loved or wanted to try. Getting takeout is low risk in terms of spreading illness, so you can rest easy with your decision to order out.

3. Invest in gift cards.

Everyone loves to get gift cards during the holidays. Instead of choosing big retailers’ cards, though, order a few from local merchants when you shop Small Business Saturday. Gift cards help local businesses maintain healthy cash flow in the short term. Plus, many businesses weren’t able to sell as much during other celebratory events in 2020, so an influx of cash now can go a long way. If you can spare it, support your favorite shops by picking up several gift cards, including ones you might want to use on yourself in 2021.

4. Support the small businesses you love on social media.

Another way to support Small Business Saturday this year is to help spread the word about how awesome your favorite small businesses are. Tag them, like their profile pages, comment on their posts, and treat them like the golden resources they are. Even if you are hurting financially and can’t buy as much this year, you can always give a free plug to the rest of your social network.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to jump on review sites and hand out glowing (when deserved) reviews and testimonials so readers are encouraged to drop by your local stores, bakeries, and other goods and service providers. In an age when people Google stores and restaurants before they visit them, these reviews can make all the difference and go a long way.

This year has been all about communities coming together. You can help your neighborhood’s economy recover from 2020 by supporting at least one local small business this holiday season to give back.

Be sure to check out how our Marlin employees are celebrating, too. Find us on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) and look for our hashtag #MarlinLovesSB to discover how we’re giving big nods to the nearby companies that give our region personality, flavor, and appeal.