Frequently Asked
Questions

  • What is Shop Small®?

    Shop Small is about more than just shopping at small businesses. It’s a cause that helps support local economies and promotes vibrant, diverse communities. It’s also a nationwide movement fueled by shoppers, business owners, and organizers who come together and celebrate the community because they know it matters.

    What is Small Business Saturday®?

    It’s an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, you can get out and support the places you love with the people you love on Nov 25.

    When is Small Business Saturday?

    Small Business Saturday is held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, you can celebrate the big day on November 25, 2017.

    Why participate in the Shop Small Movement?

    Small businesses play a key role in helping communities thrive. By shopping or dining at your favorite local places throughout the year, you’re showing your support for small businesses and making a positive impact in your community.

    How can you participate?

    As a shopper, you can show your love and support small businesses you call your own and find a new one, from corner stores to food trucks and online boutiques. You can find American Express® Card-accepting small businesses by visiting the Shop Small Map.

    If you’re a small business owner, you can celebrate customers and attract new ones with marketing materials from the Shop Small® Studio. Shop Small eligible, American Express Card-accepting small merchants get even more. Log in to learn more about free benefits to help you attract potential customers, like personalized online banner ads, signage, and a listing on the Shop Small Map.

    Those who want to do more can apply to become a Neighborhood Champion and rally nearby small businesses and the community for the big day, Nov 25.

    If you are a medium or large-sized corporation, you can apply to become a Corporate Supporter and get out the word about the importance of the small business community while promoting Small Business Saturday.

    Trade Memberships, Advocacy Groups, and Public Officials can join the Small Business Saturday Coalition to support the small business community at WIPP.org.

    For a one-stop overview of the programs mentioned above, click here and see all the ways organizations can support Small Business Saturday

    What role does American Express play in Small Business Saturday?

    In 2010, American Express founded the day. Today, American Express provides materials for supporters and businesses, in addition to offering ways for shoppers to stay engaged with the small businesses in the community.

    What is a small business?

    Small businesses can exist in a variety of forms, from corner stores to food trucks to online boutiques. They can have a handful of employees or up to 150 employees strong. They give a neighborhood strength and create vibrant, diverse communities.

    What resources are available to small business owner?

    As a small business owner with an online presence or physical location, you can enjoy tools and resources such as in-store signage, social media posts, and email templates to help you promote your business, compliments of American Express. These materials can be used throughout the year to show your dedication to the Shop Small movement.

    You can also sign up to stay connected and be one of the first business owners to know when materials are available for Small Business Saturday.

    Shop Small eligible, American Express ® Card-accepting small merchants can enjoy even more free marketing opportunities and the chance to help drive traffic to your business by being featured on the Shop Small Map and through Free Online Ads. Learn more by visiting americanexpress.com/marketing.

    Not an American Express-accepting small merchant? Did you know Card acceptance has changed? Your rate could be lower than you think, thanks to OptBlue®. Shop around or work with your Merchant Service Provider to help find a great rate for your business. Learn more at OptBlue.com.

    What if you still have a question?

    If you didn’t find what you were looking for, you can reach out by email at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com or by phone at 1-800-235-8916, 9am to 6pm ET, Monday through Friday.
  • What opportunities are available for corporations?

    We welcome medium and large-sized companies who are passionate about advocating for small businesses to participate in Small Business Saturday as Corporate Supporters.

    What does a Corporate Supporter do?

    A Corporate Supporter values the role that small businesses play in local communities nationwide. As a Corporate Supporter, you can show your support for the small business community by helping business owners get ready for Small Business Saturday. You can get the word out through your marketing channels to encourage your customers, employees, and communities to participate in Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small movement.

    What do you get as a Corporate Supporter?

    You will receive materials designed to promote Small Business Saturday in your various marketing channels, including digital banners, sample social posts, and other creative assets, compliments of American Express. As a Corporate Supporter, you will be added to the list of program supporters on Shopsmall.com/Supporters.

    Who can be a Corporate Supporter?

    Medium and large-sized companies, typically with 150 employees or more, are eligible to become Corporate Supporters. You can find the full list of 2016 Corporate Supporters at Shopsmall.com/Supporters.

    How do you become a Corporate Supporter?

    Let us know a little more about your corporation and how you plan to get the word out about Small Business Saturday. Once you have a plan, visit ShopSmall.com/MakeItOfficial and complete an application sharing your plans with us. We will review your application and respond within 2-3 weeks.

    Please be sure your application complies with the Terms of Participation.

    What’s the deadline to submit an application?

    Applications must be received by November 6, 2017 11:59 p.m. ET.

    When do you find out if your application is approved?

    After you apply, please wait 2–3 weeks for your application to be reviewed by American Express. You will then receive an email about your status.

    How can a trade group, non-profit, or advocacy organization support Small Business Saturday?

    We welcome support from a wide range of outside groups. If you represent a trade membership, advocacy group, or local government, you can learn more about how to engage with the program by becoming a part of the Small Business Saturday Coalition. If you're interested in getting involved, visit WIPP.org for more details.

    What if you still have a question?

    If you didn’t find what you were looking for, you can reach out by email at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com or by phone at 1-800-235-8916, 9am to 6pm ET, Monday through Friday.
  • What do Neighborhood Champions do?

    As a Neighborhood Champion, you help unite shoppers and small businesses in your community.

    You can organize and host an event to help your neighborhood celebrate. It could be a kickoff breakfast, a welcome station, or a Shop Small® Passport event. Find more event inspiration at ShopSmall.com/Rally. You’ll also receive countdown emails leading up to the day with helpful planning tips and resources inspired by past Neighborhood Champions. Neighborhood Champions also reach out to local businesses and help them get ready to participate on the day and distribute Shop Small® merchandise, while supplies last, to promote the day in your neighborhood.

    Who is a Neighborhood Champion?

    A Neighborhood Champion can be a member of a business association, state or local chamber of commerce, small business, or other community member who is willing to go above and beyond to organize support for Small Business Saturday. This includes promoting the day and hosting events or activities to rally the neighborhood for the big day.

    You can apply to become a Neighborhood Champion of Small Business Saturday without accepting the Card or being an American Express Card Member.

    However, Shop Small eligible, American Express Card-accepting merchants can get more. If you are interested in accepting the Card at your business, your rate could be lower than you think, thanks to OptBlue®. Shop around or work with your Merchant Service Provider to help find a great rate for your business. Learn more at OptBlue.com.

    How do you become a Neighborhood Champion?

    Apply to become a Neighborhood Champion at ShopSmall.com/Rally. You’ll be asked to provide information about yourself, the names of at least 10 qualifying small businesses you will rally, and details about what type of event you plan on organizing on the big day. If your application is approved, you will then receive an Event Kit with merchandise that helps you prepare for Small Business Saturday, compliments of American Express. Just be sure your application complies with the Terms of Participation.

    What upcoming dates are important?

    June 28: Neighborhood Champion application opens
    June 28–November 6: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis
    Mid-October: Distribution of Small Business Saturday Event Kits begins
    November 6: Application closes
    November 25: Celebrate the big day, Small Business Saturday

    How do you know if you should apply to become a Neighborhood Champion?

    Typically, a Neighborhood Champion is a business, state, or local chamber of commerce, community organizer, or someone involved in your community. You also need to be at least 18 years old, and located in the United States or the U.S. territories. Applicants must be willing to organize events or activities at a physical location to rally the community for Small Business Saturday. Click here for Full Eligibility Criteria.

    What type of businesses should be included in a Neighborhood Champion application?

    Please be sure to list the names of 10 qualifying small businesses in your local area. You can rally local restaurants, cafés, hardware stores, garden supply shops, bookstores, candy shops, boutiques, hair salons, barber shops, and more. Small businesses are not required to accept the Card to participate. However, if they would like to learn more about Card acceptance and rate options with OptBlue®, please direct them to visit OptBlue.com.

    Qualifying Small Business Criteria*


    Small businesses that you identify as participating in your plan must (i) comply with the Neighborhood Champion Eligibility Criteria section set forth above, (ii) if a brick and mortar retail small business, reside in the Program Territory and have no more than twenty-five (25) retail locations within the Program Territory, and (iii) not be franchisees or licensees of a brand with more than twenty (20) corporate-owned stores, or more than one hundred (100) stores in total. *Please note, this criteria applies to the Neighborhood Champion program. There may be additional criteria to be considered eligible for the Shop Small marketing benefits.

    Is it okay to contact last year’s Neighborhood Champions?

    Feel free to connect with any of last year’s Neighborhood Champions via their provided link on ShopSmall.com/nclisting. However, we cannot make any guarantees that they will respond to your request.

    What type of plan should be included in the Neighborhood Champion application?

    You’ll be asked to provide a summary of the event (250-word maximum) you’ll organize to rally your community. Your event should occur on Small Business Saturday, November 25.

    Consider Shop Small® Passports to help shoppers and business owners enjoy the big day. When shoppers make a purchase at participating small businesses, they can receive a stamp along with a discount or special treat.

    Think about throwing a Kickoff Breakfast. Since nothing brings people together quite like food, you can bring the pancakes and make Small Business Saturday a breakfast the whole community can enjoy.

    You can even set up a Shop Small Welcome Station. From a simple booth to a centralized location full of treats and entertainment, a Shop Small Welcome Station is a great way to greet the neighborhood on Nov 25.

    Feel free to borrow the event ideas above or create your own. You can find Event Guides here for inspiration. For more details, read the Terms of Participation.

    Do you have to complete your application all at once?

    The save and finish later feature can be used by providing your name and email. You can finish completing your saved Neighborhood Champion application until the application closes on November 6, 2017.

    What if you make a mistake on your application?

    We know mistakes can happen. If you think you made one, it might not make or break your application. For those who already submitted their application, please wait for a status email that will be delivered within 1–2 weeks of completing your application.

    After receiving your status email, if you have any additional questions, you can contact Shop Small Help via email at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com or by phone at 1-800-235-8916, 9am to 6pm ET, Monday through Friday.

    How do you get back into your saved Neighborhood Champion application?

    You should have received an email after choosing to save and finish your application later. In that email, you will find a link back to your in-progress application. If you did not save your progress, you will need to start over.

    How can you find out the status of your application?

    After completing your Neighborhood Champion application, please wait 1–2 weeks for an update through email. You will then find out the status and if you are approved to be a 2017 Neighborhood Champion.

    Why would a Neighborhood Champion application get denied?

    Your application may not be approved because the businesses you entered aren’t small businesses or could not be located, or there was a lack of details or event planning for Small Business Saturday. For more information regarding eligibility, see Terms and Conditions.

    How do you rally the community for Small Business Saturday®?

    Host an event: organize an event like a block party, a street fair, a scavenger hunt, or a special breakfast for the community on the day. You can even tell the local government about your plans.

    Provide the entertainment: get a local band or DJ to play music, organize activities like face painting or a costume contest, or set up a photo booth on-site to make for family fun.

    Help people get there easily: arrange for free parking to be provided in your community or free transportation to your event, so more people are able to attend.

    Decorate the area: show your spirit around town with Small Business Saturday decorations, including banners and balloons, with special tote bags for attendees.

    Invite local officials and other local celebrities: reach out to the mayor, councilperson, or other local officials to attend your event. Also, invite people who are celebrities around town.

    Involve local businesses: let local businesses set up pop-up shops or tables to promote their goods and services. Also encourage business owners to offer special promotions on the day.

    Promote your event: spread the word to local media, encourage the press to attend and cover the event, and get the word out on social media. You can even invite local radio stations to send radio personalities, set up a table, or play music.

    You can find even more ideas by reviewing complimentary Event Guides here.

    What should you consider when holding an event?

    Access: help get people there easier with public transportation, calling out available parking areas, offering free parking, bringing the media, and potentially giving media advance access.

    Foot traffic: think about how many people are out and about during the weekend and if it’s a community that typically empties out over a holiday weekend.

    Logistics: make sure the area isn’t too crowded on a holiday weekend for the event you want to host. That means double-checking that you have the space to set up the events and activities you want to plan and including an area for the press and any performers.

    Appeal: use a more central meeting spot or an area in your community with significance, like a town green, where the location could be part of the draw.

    Weather: create a backup plan if your event is outdoors in case of bad weather.

    Promotion: inform local business owners that they can host an event and participate in the day. You can come up with suggestions for them on your own or encourage them to get more information and sign up for free downloadable materials on ShopSmall.com.

    What is included in the Small Business Saturday Event Kit?

    From balloons to tote bags, Small Business Saturday Event Kits have the supplies you need to host and organize an event in your community. Kits are available while supplies last.

    Where is your Small Business Saturday Event Kit and how fast can you receive it?

    Kits begin shipping via FedEx in early October. Once shipped, you can track your Small Business Saturday Event Kit is and see when it is expected to arrive.

    If you’re hosting a larger community event, can you receive additional merchandise?

    While we appreciate your enthusiasm, we only have a limited amount of Small Business Saturday Event Kits to ship and can only distribute one per Neighborhood Champion.

    If you’re hosting a larger community event, can American Express sponsor it?

    You can take advantage of valuable resources and event inspiration we provide through the Neighborhood Champion program to help rally your community for Small Business Saturday but we cannot compensate or cover any expenses accrued during your community event.

    What if you still have a question?

    If you didn’t find what you were looking for, you can reach out by email at ShopSmallHelp@aexp.com or by phone at 1-800-235-8916, 9am to 6pm ET, Monday through Friday.