First observed in the United States 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.
The first event was sponsored by American Express, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and Roslindale Village Main Street. In 2010, the holiday was 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, and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.
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, which generated more than one million Facebook “like” registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsaturday.