One of the things we love most about living here is the plethora of local joints that are unique to Charlotte. Why go to a chain restaurant when you could have Dan Nguyen coach you through ordering the perfect dish at Lang Van? Skip the mall when you can get an amazing vegan leather bag at Roam & Dwell and that perfect gift at Paper Skyscraper?   


Shopping at locally-owned businesses you’re more likely to find something unique and personal. It might be easier to click and ship, but if we want to keep these neighborhood gems we need to support them. Plus, it’s our neighbors who own these places and they deserve our help. That’s what Small Business Saturday is all about.

Shoppers are expected to spend more than $23 billion on that Saturday after Thanksgiving. American Express started the tradition during the recession in 2010, when many small businesses were struggling. Since then, the idea has really taken off! It’s been supported by the President of the United States, the Senate and is now co-sponsored by the Small Business Administration.


South End has been hosting huge Shop Small Saturday events for 10 years. They have live music, prizes and even a cameo from Santa. It’s so much fun, they do it the first two Saturdays in December too. There are literally hundreds of local vendors with their holiday best on display. Grab a Shop Small Hero Card at one of the welcome tents, and you will be rewarded for supporting local businesses! All you have to do is spend $10 or more with at least five vendors and you’ll get a prize!

Here’s the lineup for November 26:

  • Atherton Mill: 8a-3p at the South End Farmers Market with 40+ local vendors
  • Camden Road: 10a-5p street festival from Atherton Mill to Park Avenue with 125+ local vendors, pictures with Santa from 12p-3p and live tunes from DJ America
  • Winnifred Street: 10a-5p street festival at The Winnifred with 40+ local vendors

For more information about South End and details on the other two Shop Small Saturdays click here. If you’re interested in volunteering at one of South End’s Shop Local Saturday events, all you need is a cheery disposition and some free time. You can learn more about it here.

Divine Barrel Brewing is hosting a Small Business Saturday pop-up market in NoDa. NoDaHood (cute, right?) will happen on November 26th from 1p-6p. They’ll have 70 local vendors, food trucks, live music and more.



There are other ways to support our small businesses as well. Bankrate has these suggestions:

  • Leave positive reviews online: If you loved that meal or got tons of compliments on that white hot new outfit, leave a note about it on Yelp or Google. 
  • Spread the word: Gush about your favorite neighborhood haunts on your Instagram or Facebook feed. A personal recommendation is gold.
  • Buy gift cards: They are great to have on hand in case you need an extra gift.
  • Order takeout directly: Third party apps take a significant cut from the restaurant.

American Express has tons of resources for local businesses who want to be a part of Small Business Saturday. You can apply for a grant, find educational materials and even download free marketing materials here

So, why not walk off that Thanksgiving feast with some local shopping on Small Business Saturday? It’s the neighborly thing to do!

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