As the holiday shopping season arrives, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30.

The chamber is reaching out to help businesses with their most pressing need — luring in more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the chamber is trying to get the word out about shopping locally.

Small businesses interested in participating are asked to email alawson@blountpartnership.com.

Last year, shoppers spent a record $17.8 billion at independent stores and restaurants on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, according to research by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Small businesses expect an average of 29% of their annual sales to come during the holiday shopping season, the survey found. Some 56% of small business owners surveyed last year said Small Business Saturday boosted their holiday sales.

To further help small businesses get a boost this shopping season, the Nashville office of the NFIB offers five tips for success on Small Business Saturday.

• Stay on top of social media. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, post often and promote any Small Business Saturday deals. Use the hashtags #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat so shoppers can find you easily.

• Showcase merchandise that would make a great gift — group items on a table with a sign saying it would be the perfect gift for mom or the grandparents, for example. Restaurants can offer Small Business Saturday specials and gift cards.

• Offer doorbusters. Chain stores know a great way to drive shoppers to their stores is by offering exclusive deals at different times of the day. There’s no reason a small business can’t do the same thing.

• Partner with nearby businesses. Pool your resources to buy advertising promoting the neighborhood as a shopping destination or team up with other merchants on in-store promotions. For example, if someone buys a shirt at one shop, tell them about the great deal on shoes next door.

• Don’t forget to tell your regular customers about Small Business Saturday. Put a sign in your shop and fliers in bags reminding folks to come back the Saturday after Thanksgiving for exclusive deals. Create and download free custom marketing materials at https://amex.co/36yU20E.

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