Everyone knows Black Friday is the largest shopping day of the year for consumers to snatch up deals at big box retail stores. But for too long, small businesses missed out on the flood of customers. In an effort to remedy this, American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010, encouraging shoppers to buy from small, local stores on the day after Black Friday.

Since its inception, Small Business Saturday has grown considerably each year, helping boost local retailers as well as the economy. Here are a few of the reasons why Small Business Saturday has become such a beloved and noteworthy tradition:

  • It helps locals discover new stores. Visiting independently-owned shops can open a person’s eyes to what the world of small business has to offer. Whether it’s personalized customer service, higher quality products or the lack of red tape, many shoppers are drawn in and continue to patronize the stores at other times of the year.
  • It creates jobs. Small businesses play a crucial role in job development in the U.S. According to the Small Business Administration, they make up 99.7 percent of employer firms, and account for 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs. By shopping at local stores, it encourages job growth, which then bolsters the local economy by enabling spending.
  • It supports better neighborhoods. In 2014, Small Business Saturday generated $14.3 billion in revenue for participating small retailers. For every sale, taxes were paid to the local government to invest in things like parks, road improvements, etc. These beneficial initiatives have created nicer neighborhoods for residents and boosted real estate.
  • It encourages dreaming big. Many people imagine owning their own businesses. By supporting a small business owner’s store, it makes their dream a reality and motivates them to dream bigger. Plus, it inspires future entrepreneurs to follow their passions.

One facet of Small Business Saturday that’s often overlooked is the fact that franchises are small businesses too. Just like any other small business, franchises are owned by individuals in our neighborhoods who were brave enough to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. They hire people from our communities, they pay taxes, and they fund local initiatives, so it’s important we show them our support this weekend as well.

In fact, this year I challenge you to celebrate ‘Franchise Friday’ in addition to Small Business Saturday. Let’s rally to support all of the small business owners who make our communities great and show us the American dream is still alive and well. Happy shopping!