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Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to buy local this holiday season

A new retail shopping event has arrived, encouraging consumers to support local, independent businesses during the holiday season.
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Pedestrians stroll along Spring Garden Road in Halifax on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. A new retail shopping event has arrived, encouraging consumers to support local, independent businesses during the holiday season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A new retail shopping event has arrived, encouraging consumers to support local, independent businesses during the holiday season. 

Small Business Saturday, wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the latest sales campaign aimed at holiday shoppers. 

But unlike its larger retail counterparts, which tend to shine a spotlight on big box stores, Small Business Saturday suggests consumers support their neighbourhood mom-and-pop shops. 

The initiative comes during the critical holiday shopping season as many small businesses struggle to survive the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said 2020 has been one of the toughest year's ever for many businesses.

"It's been a nightmare on Main Street," she said in an interview Saturday. "It's been financially and emotionally very, very difficult for small business."

Jones said the retail event is intended to push consumers towards supporting small businesses online, using curbside pick-up or taking advantage of in-person shopping where possible.

"We're asking people to think about their choices and become a conscious consumer," she said, adding that the idea is to encourage shoppers to think beyond the big box stores and online giants.

"The survival of small businesses in your neighbourhood depends on your support."

According to CFIB's latest data, only 38 per cent of retail businesses are reaching their usual sales levels, and one in seven is at risk of permanent closure.

"The bottom line is the consumer has the power to make a difference here," Jones said. "We're not powerless in this pandemic. The choices we make every day will shape what Canada is going to look like tomorrow."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. 

The Canadian Press