Nov. 30 is Shop Small Saturday, and the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce has plans to do it up in a big way to convince shoppers to do their holiday spending in Crossville.

The Chamber is joining forces with American Express for the annual event, which focuses on small businesses and the benefits of residents putting their money back into the community in which they live.

“We hope that everybody promotes everybody,” said Ashley DeRossett, Chamber vice president, during the Chamber's November board meeting Monday.

The first 20 businesses that sign up to participate will receive gift cards, courtesy of the Chamber, to distribute in their promotions for shopping in the community on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Participating businesses as of Monday afternoon are Fifth St. Marketplace, Hilltoppers Thrift Store, Art Guild at Fairfield Glade, French's Boots, The Dressing Room, Tabor's Furniture, Tabor's Pawn Shop, Stonehaus Winery, Shoney's and Mayberry's Furniture.

The Chamber is a Neighborhood Champion partner with American Express, which allows Chamber members to be part of a national promotion, DeRossett said. American Express provides promotional materials and goody bags to participating merchants, and those who accept American Express can also receive additional incentives for the event.

“It's just really a good way to promote our members,” DeRossett added.

Chambers of Commerce have typically conducted “Shop at Home” holiday season promotions for a number of decades as a means of keeping local dollars at home while showcasing the offerings and personal service of hometown businesses. 

American Express stepped up during the recession in 2010 to lend a corporate hand by establishing Shop Small Saturday to encourage people to spend their shopping dollars with small community establishments.

The movement's momentum has grown annually, with business associations such as the Chamber, local governments and officials uniting to keep their money in their communities.

An American Express economic impact study shows that, for every dollar spent at a local business, 67 cents stays in the community.

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