Category Archives: WIPP

Small Business Saturday in Chicago’s Hyde Park

Below is an article written by the Women’s Business Development Center’s Kristin Travis reflecting on her experience with Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, held on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was created by American Express in 2010 with the mission of bringing communities together to promote local commerce.  I celebrated last year’s event, on November 26, 2011, in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.  Hyde Park is near and dear to my heart; I lived there for a while after moving back to Illinois following a 5-year leave.  Hyde Park, as you may know, has a very vibrant small business community, filled with a cornucopia of gift shops, restaurants, book stores and many other wonderful places to shop.

One night, while taking a final sip of stale coffee – a last ditch effort to keep my senses alert after hours of studying – I heard a phrase in the background that perked my ears, “Small Business Saturday!”   A commercial on CNN explained the event, causing me to perform a silent cheer in my seat.  I was overjoyed to hear that this event was beginning to gain a national presence.

So there I was at 8 a.m., on a cool, damp November 26, with a larger, fresher cup of coffee in hand, patiently waiting for the day’s events to begin.  Chant, a Hyde Park Thai food bistro conveniently positioned on the bustling 53rd Street, was the setting for breakfast with Santa and a lively press conference featuring several home-grown elected officials.  In attendance were Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama; Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle; Senator Kwame Raoul; State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie; 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns; Mike Davis and Wallace Goode of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and a host of volunteers organized by the Chamber and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).

Despite the dismal weather, 53rd Street was abuzz with lights and the sound of honking horns in support of this community action.  Laughter glittered across the familiar faces that spoke at the press conference podium as fond memories were shared about life growing up in this close-knit neighborhood.   As the conference came to a close, Jarrett took a moment to reflect on the life of the late Maggie Daley, wife of the former Mayor Richard M. Daley and a great Chicagoan who championed for our youth and community.  It was in that spirit of community that Jarrett encouraged the audience to go out and support the local economy.

Now, just one year later, I am once again a proud resident of Hyde Park.  I relish in the fact that my fellow neighbors and I take so much pride in our local small businesses.  We know that it is shops like What the Traveler Saw, Wesley’s Shoe Corral, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe, Café 53, Hyde Park Produce and a host of other small and family-owned businesses that drive our community and communities like ours all across America.

Join me this November 24th, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, on Small Business Saturday and support the local businesses in your neighborhood that work hard to keep America going strong.  Please click here to learn more about Small Business Saturday and to participate in events in your local community.

Kristin Travis Picture (PTAC Associate)

Kristin J. Travis is the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Associate at the WBDC. See pictures from her experience here.



Filed under American Express, Business, Entrepreneur, Established Business, Small Business, Small Business Saturday, Special Events, WBDC, WIPP

Join the WBDC in Supporting Small Business Saturday

What is Small Business Saturday?

Although Small Business Saturday is well known amongst small businesses, consumers may be in the dark when it comes to this economy-boosting event.  #smallbizsat is November 26th this year, the Saturday immediately following Black Friday and the weekend before Cyber Monday.  (Don’t forget to enjoy Thanksgiving in the midst of all this!)  The purpose of Small Business Saturday is to stimulate locally-owned small businesses and in turn help the economy.  Simply put, if you’re a consumer: SHOP! If you’re a small business: PARTICIPATE!

Small Business Owners

Participating in Small Business Saturday is made easy for you.  Powered by American Express, Small Business Saturday’s website provides marketing materials, easy how-to guides and even an app!  Make the day lucrative for your customers.  Check out all the materials here. The WBDC has partnered with Women Impacting Public Policy to support Small Business Saturday, and we’re doing so gladly as everyone benefits when locally owned businesses are supported, (we are particularly fond of women owned businesses).

From Small Business Saturday Facebook: “According to the 2011 Small Business Saturday Consumer Spend Survey,61% of consumers plan to shop at locally-owned clothing and accessories stores on November 26.”


Small Business Saturday has this great feature on their Facebook Page.  Simply type in your zip code, and they’ll give you a list of registered participants to visit.  What’s in it for you?  Look at it like this.  Buying a dress from your local boutique puts money directly into the woman’s pocket who just rang you up.  You just helped pay for the shop owner’s groceries, buy her kids school clothes and put gas in her tank.  For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy, compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain.*  Doesn’t that just make you feel better about your spending?

Are you participating?  As a consumer or a small business owner, or both?  Let us know in the comments below!

*Source: Civic Economics study on Grand Rapids, Michigan – Sept. 2008

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Filed under Business Start-up, Established Business, Marketing, SBA, Small Business Saturday, Special Events, WBDC News, WIPP, Women Business Owner