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Second Annual Small Business Saturday to Offer More Deals

Tay Rees/Lifesize/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In between running from store to store on Black Friday and scoring online deals on Cyber Monday, there will be another landmark shopping day to mark on your calendar -- Small Business Saturday.

The second annual event, being held on Nov. 26 and sponsored by American Express, is a day meant to draw customers to all of the small shops and restaurants this season instead of the big box stores who have the means to promote themselves.

"We can't compete with what the big stores are doing...we're a small neighborhood store," said David Vail, manager of Hazel, a Chicago shop that has been around for 10 years. He mentioned that while many people go to the box stores during the holidays, small businesses can offer a better experience.

"We actually service our customers," he said. "We give free gift wrap, whether it's a little $2 slinky or a $250 pair of earrings at our shop. It's definitely just shopping in the neighborhood."

The small businesses taking part in the initiative are being encouraged to use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to get deals out to potential customers. The Small Business Saturday page on Facebook already has over 2 million "likes," and along with information about the day, American Express offers a tool to search for small shops in individual communities and links to their respective pages. The company is even offering a deal for consumers -- a $25 statement credit to customers who register an American Express card and spend at least $25 at a small business on Saturday.

The company also offered free marketing tools and opportunities to advertise on Facebook and YourBuzz.

For people looking to shop at community stores even in big cities, the Facebook page also offers a guide by Paper Magazine featuring special deals this Saturday in cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Many are offering special deals in hopes to draw new customers in.

"We're offering a promotion, buy one get the second 25 percent off, which for us is a really big discount...we're a really small company," said Keven Dakinah, manager of Wool & the Gang, a sweater boutique in New York's SoHo. "We're thinking it's going to be crazy busy."

According to the Small Business Administration, there are 27.5 million small businesses in the U.S., and those firms employ about half of all workers in the country. However, only a third of them survive for at least 10 years, and only a quarter last beyond 15 years.

In an open letter on Wednesday, President Obama threw his support behind Small Business Saturday.

"From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nation's promise," he wrote. "These businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America, helping spur economic development in communities across our country and giving millions of families and individuals the opportunity to achieve the American dream."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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