Have you heard about Small Business Saturday? It’s a relatively new phenomenon, first launched on November 27, 2010 – essentially, it’s the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday – and the goal is to encourage consumers to shop local and small. Small businesses account for 99.7% of all employer firms in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration, and have generated 65% of net new jobs over the past 17 years. And according to statistics released yesterday by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, those U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent a total of $5.5 billion with independent merchants. Pre-holiday surveys estimated that U.S. consumers would spend $5.3 billion. Small Business Saturday is backed by major corporations, such as FedEx and American Express, and has bipartisan government support – elected officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. championed Small Business Saturday, and the Senate unanimously passed a Small Business Saturday Resolution. As stated by NFIB CEO Dan Danner, “Continued support of this vital sector is one important way to ensure our economy fully recovers and a healthy private sector is restored.” So when you’re out looking for that holiday gift this year – why not head to your local independent merchant? You’ll get something unique and support the engine that powers our economy.