Small Business Saturday has come and gone this year, but local stores aren’t letting up on the effort to get residents to shop at their independently owned businesses right in their own backyard.

Several government and business officials gathered Nov. 22 to kick off their Small Business Saturday campaign, as well as to emphasize the Shop Indie Local campaign and to highlight the 600-plus members of Dane Buy Local.

The new Shop Indie Local campaign spanning Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 was launched this year to encourage consumers to shop at small businesses during the entire holiday season, not just on one day.

“Many of us are already planning to spend money during the holiday season for food, greeting cards, gifts or flowers for friends, family and neighbors,” said Colin Murray, executive director of Dane Buy Local. “Why not spend those dollars at a locally owned business? Whether shopping at a physical location or online, consider shopping at local businesses first.”

Small Business Saturday is an all-day event recognized Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage shopping at local, independently owned businesses during the holiday shopping season. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the event that, according to 59 percent of small-business owners, contributes significantly to retail and restaurant holiday sales each year.

In 2018, U.S. consumers reported spending a record high of $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday. Surveys showed 96 percent of consumers said the day makes them want to shop small all year long, not just during the holiday season.

In Cottage Grove, the chamber of commerce continues to advocate for its Cottage Grove First campaign, which kicked off four years ago.

“The idea of our Cottage Grove First campaign was to educate area residents and business owners on the impact shopping local has on our economy,” said Sarah Hurley, chairwoman of the chamber’s marketing committee. “Along with this education, our marketing message was: Next time you shop, think Cottage Grove First. Our hope was before they looked outside of Cottage Grove for their banking needs, or office supplies, can of paint or basic over-the-counter need, they would think of Cottage Grove businesses that might offer that product or service.”

Numerous studies show if shopping dollars are shifted to locally owned, independent businesses, they’ll generate far more economic benefit in local communities than money spent at national chain outlets.

“As we move into 2020, we are tapping into the younger generation with our Cottage Grove First initiative,” Hurley said. “We have partnered with the advanced marketing students at Monona Grove High School to get their perspective on shopping local, what it means to them and get their input on our Cottage Grove First campaign. The student group is in the middle of writing a marketing plan for us, and it has been fun working with the students so far, and we are excited to hear their final presentation in January.”

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said shopping locally during the holiday season is a great way to support small businesses and build the local economy.

“Dane Buy Local plays an important role in our community – helping more Dane County residents prosper, create jobs and give back to our area,” he said.

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