Alex Witt   |  November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday kicks off

Alex Witt talks to MSNBC’s J.J. Ramberg about how local businesses are getting ready for Small Business Saturday.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> as good as the retailers are hoping. meantime, retailers on main street are hoping you did not wrap up your shopping, because today is small business saturday. and it is the annual initiative to get people to shop at independent local stores . and joining us from bur bank is our resident small business expert. hi, jj. it's good to see you.

>> reporter: good morning, alex.

>> so with this small business saturday, i remember when it was created three years ago, you were all over this. has it gained real traction?

>> reporter: oh, yeah. it started in 2010 . and then a few people heard of it. a few merchants had some deals around promoting i. now lock around everywhere you will see small businesses saying today we have promotions. today we're opening early, staying up late and consumers are aware of it in a way they. for the first start.

>> so the business' bottom line , these small businesses what is it doing forward? is it a palpable. is there a measurable indicator?

>> reporter: there is. the way for the big box stores to rally around something and market something, get people into the stores . cybermonday is for online stores . what small businesses do is it gives them an event to have promotion, woo inin their stores , prachls. they do. they are seeing an increase in their bottom loinl. i spoke to a dog baker the other day, they saw their sales increase three times on small business saturday over the year before when they weren't doing promotions.

>> so you say things like wine, what else, food, ween, cheese, cookies? depending on the toy store . it's only 7:54 in the morning our time. earlier for you. does it go beyond, does it do give aways as well. can that be one of the pro positions?

>> it can be everything, yes, they are trying to do eng they can to get people into the store. bring a friend, then you will get a discount. shop early, boy one, get one free, 50% off something. all the kind of things big box stores do as well. small businesses are doing. they're trying to get people in the, do obviously spend money now for the holiday shopping season, also get them to stop at the stores so they can show them they have great customer service , some unique products you wouldn't be able to buy at big box stores . so then all of these people will continue to shop throughout the years.

>> i remember president obama even got in on this event last year. he was shopping at that book store in arlington, virginia. i am curious if there has been a response or a coordination between the business community and washington on this.

>> reporter: there has been and the obamas have made it a bit of a tradition to go to a small store every small business saturday. yes, washington has been very supportive. president obama had a statement recently telling people to shop small or encouraging them to do so. senator landrieu did. there are governors and mayors in every single state that are supporting small business saturday. it's really hit a nerve. people are starting to understand that if we don't shop at these businesses, they're going to go away and what does it money for my community if all of those stores that i love go away?

>> yeah. is there an expectation for this holiday season for these small independent shop owners?

>> reporter: well, you know, as the economy rises, small business rises. as people have more money in their poblths, they will spend more money at small business . the tide seems to be turning a bit. small business had been losing quite a bit of market share to big box stores . it seems to be turning around a bit.

>> let's hope it stays that way. you are right, when you live in a small town , i live outside new york city . when you sew a shutter or an empty store, it is so depressing in these small towns. but they're coming back. i tens sense they're coming back. that's all good.