First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.

In 2010 the holiday was conceived and promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year Amex bought advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders,[1] and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.[2][3]

American Express publicized the initiative using social media, advertising, and public relations. Many local politicians and small business groups in the United States issued proclamations concerning the campaign,[4][5][6] which generated more than one million Facebook “like” registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsaturday.[7]

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