November 26 is Small Business Saturday. In 2021, U.S. consumer spending on Small Business Saturday was north of $23 billion.
Let’s break that down locally.
According to American Express, 70 cents of every dollar spent at local retailers stay in the community. One cannot overstate the ripple effect of that figure. Your hard-earned dollars that went to that piece of art in your living room, flowers for a coworker or lunch with your friends didn’t stop when you hung the art, gave the flowers or finished your meal. Those dollars helped pay the rent, keep the lights on, and hire your neighbor’s kid. They helped a local entrepreneur stay open and vital to our economy and quality of life.
Every day, a DDP team member (or members) supports our small business community in some fashion. The Downtown Detroit Business Improvement Zone does what its name says: improves the area where businesses locate. Some ways are more visible than others. Our landscaping, trash and graffiti removal and visitor assistance mean sidewalks are clean and safe for shoppers and diners. Our extensive parks programming brings Downtown workers, residents and over four million visitors of all ages into our parks and public spaces every year. We know Cider in the City attendees, the 100,000 plus that attended the Detroit Tree Lighting or the thousands that take to the ice rink each year don’t just skate off — they spend money before, during and after the event or outing.
We work to connect businesses to services, consumers to businesses and businesses to businesses. We do this because, as an industry segment, small businesses employ millions of workers and contribute an immeasurable quality of life to a downtown.
I was recently invited to Harvard to present Downtown Detroit’s retail best practices to a team of real estate professionals, architects and city planners. This allowed me to reflect on how the DDP and its programs provide value to our downtown and its restauranteurs and shop owners. We work to improve the business environment, but what we don’t do is contribute the 70 percent mentioned above back to the community.
So, buy that art, give those flowers and take a friend to lunch on November 26 or any day of the year, knowing you’re doing your part in helping our entrepreneurs make Detroit a great place to live, work and shop.