Whether you brave the craziness of the big box stores on Black Friday or you choose to recognize Buy Nothing Day on the biggest shopping day of the year, chances are you won’t have all of your holiday shopping complete. On Nov. 27, American Express is asking that you consider skipping those big chain stores (just for the day), and spending some of your hard-earned cash at the hard-working, small, independent, local businesses in you area. The credit card company will reward its members for doing so.

They’ve declared Nov. 27, 2010, the first Small Business Saturday.

A day to come together in support of the small businesses we love. The shops and restaurants that employ our neighbors and reinvest our money close to home.
The businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and local economies.
American Express card members who enroll online and then use their cards at a small business that accepts American Express on Small Business Saturday will earn a $25 statement credit.

Supporting small, independent, local businesses is important for your community, particularly in these difficult financial times. For every $100 spent at local businesses, about two-thirds of that stays within the community. Supporting local businesses helps local people keep their jobs.

Whether you have an American Express card or not, I encourage you to shop this holiday season at local businesses. Here are a few ideas, food-related of course, for shopping local:

  • Cookbooks from independent or secondhand bookstores
  • Wine or beer from wineries or breweries in your region
  • A Community Supported Agriculture membership for next year from a local farm
  • Jarred, preserved foods bought at a local farm market.
  • Gift certificate to an independent restaurant.
  • A large, galvanized bucket from an independent hardware store that can be used as a beverage bucket. (Fill it with some of the wine or beer you bought.)
  • A pound of great coffee from the local coffee house
  • Treats from an independent bakery to take to the office party

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Small Business Saturday
American Express is encouraging its card members to shop at small businesses this Saturday.