Small Business Saturday Still Small Potatoes, Owners Complain

PHOTO: Politicians and officials from the Small Business Administration visited small businesses in Olde Town Arvada in Denver, Nov. 25, 2014.Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post/Getty Images
Politicians and officials from the Small Business Administration visited small businesses in Olde Town Arvada in Denver, Nov. 25, 2014.

Small Business Saturday is still very much in the shadow of Black Friday, according to small-business owners.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is meant to boost sales and customers far away from the big-box stores. But some owners say the day doesn't rake in nearly as much sales and traffic as Black Friday.

Black Friday is "more known," said Darrell Kingston, the owner of the footwear retailer Vamps in New York City.

Michael Blossom, the owner of Florodora, a women's clothes store in Chicago, agrees, saying that Small Business Saturday does not have much impact on his own business though he appreciates its efforts.

"I wouldn't attribute a lot of [sales] to small business Saturday," Blossom told ABC News.

American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010, intending to help raise awareness about the importance and products offered by small businesses. The U.S. Senate officially recognized the day in 2012 with several politicians and President Obama expressing their support. Over 1,450 people and local organizations joined the movement last year as "neighborhood champions," pledging their support for small businesses in their community, according to American Express.com.

Denise Stahl Shealy, who opened women's clothing store Steel Gardens in South Carolina earlier this year, says she is excited over her first Small Business Saturday and thinks it will bring in lots of customers.

"I think more exposure to it and more people learning about it, it will become a part of the routine just like going shopping on Black Friday," she told ABC News.

But some say a major marketing effort is needed to boost the day.

"More marketing and advertising," Kingston told ABC News. "Because for this day and this year, I have not seen any marketing for this event."

American Express offers discounts and other rewards Saturday to anyone who uses their card at a registered small business, with rewards differing every year. It puts out online advertisements about small companies to help raise awareness about the day.

Amex says that on Nov. 29, if you spend $10 or more at qualifying businesses, you get $10 back, up to three times. "American Express holders can register to get up to $30 back when they Shop Small on Small Business Saturday," the company said.