Small Business Saturday: Think Big, Shop Small

Small Business Saturday: Think Big, Shop Small

Nov 21, 2022

This coming Saturday is Small Business Saturday, and while so many of us enjoy the smaller independent shops in our towns all year round, this initiative is a good reminder that with the rush of holiday gift buying, we should especially remember to support our neighbors and community. Now that I have founded a small toy company, my appreciation for small businesses has grown exponentially. Playper is very much a small business. We're a hardworking team of about five people, and your support this season is vital in helping us build our team and develop our products. Thank you for trusting us, bringing our toys into your homes, and gifting them to friends and family. We are so grateful!

Here at Playper, my wife Deanna has been involved in many ways behind the scenes. Just last week, while toy shopping at our local toy store, she pitched us to the store owners who I then followed up with, and when I went in there with our toy in hand they said, “Your wife really knows your product well – she gave a great pitch!” And yes, those are my kids in some of our Curious Kingdom ads popping up online. They’ve been our product testers/guinea pigs since day one – and I consider them my muses! I’ve grown close to my co-founders Michael and Susy, and the modest-in-size but not-in-talent team we’ve assembled for this endeavor have become good friends. Like so many small businesses, Playper is truly a family affair.

History and Stats

Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 by that very not-small company, American Express. The following year the Small Business Administration (SBA) became a cosponsor. In that relatively short time, it has become an effective tool in supporting the nearly 32 million Mom & Pop businesses in our country. Some stats:

  • reports that last year 51 million shoppers participated in spending over $20 billion in those stores.
  • According to SBA, 28 million small businesses operate in the U.S. alone. And since 1995, those small businesses have generated 66% of all new jobs in the United States.
  • Civic Economics reports that “on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.” Online behemoths? 0%.

Beyond the stats: It is your local independent sporting goods store that is a critical sponsor of the neighborhood soccer club, it’s your bookstore up the street that is buying a program ad supporting the high school’s production of “Anything Goes,” and it’s your craft store donating much-needed art supplies to your church’s grade school. 

Enjoy the Joy of the Season

So, yes, it’s a good thing to do, supporting our local businesses. Yet my reasons for shopping at small businesses is not all altruistic. I experience great joy when Deanna and I can sneak off and get into those shops and love taking our kids out to help with the gift-buying. And spotting that special gift for someone on my list is as thrilling as a rollercoaster. Finally, while out in the community in addition to taking in the IRL joy of season, I usually manage to sneak in some hot chocolate as well.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, to make Curious Kingdom as great as it could possibly be, we were a bit later to market than we had hoped, and thus it’s currently only available on our website. But it will be in as many small, independent shops in 2023 as we can be (as mentioned earlier, I just pitched it to my favorite local toy store here in my hometown!).  So, if you know of a local toy store where we should we sell, please reach out or if you are the owner of a store where we could sell, we’d love to hear from you (! We love being discovered! Thank you again for your support and for supporting small businesses like Playper. Your this means the world to us. We appreciate your trust and purchase of our toys. We are just so grateful.

… And now I hope to bump into you this Saturday at some small business!

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