Nov. 25 is Small Business Saturday. Officially observed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it is a reminder that the holidays are around the corner and to Shop Local! This is a nation-wide promotion campaign, originally sponsored by American Express in 2010, encouraging communities and holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

The objective of this nation-wide shopping holiday is to help communities to grow. Small business ownership is the backbone of every community and strongly reflects American innovation. Local, small businesses are the Main Street of America, and often times referred to as Mom and Pop stores.

The Town, and the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, greatly support Small Business Saturday. Historically, the Chamber wraps the launch of this shopping day around its annual “Santa’s Arrival” community event, held at the Gazebo on Sherman Green every year, because thousands of people attend this Santa event and it is a perfect time to promote Small Business Saturday.

This year, the Chamber will be working with the Town to distribute various “Shop Small” items at its tent on the green, including free shopping bags, balloons, Chamber business directories, plus more all these giveaway items remind residents and shoppers alike, to Shop Local, Shop Small. In addition, as parents bring their children into the Gazebo to visit Santa, they receive a separate listing of local Chamber businesses, plus an “I Love Fairfield” pin.

Following Small Business Saturday, and on Dec. 7, the Town and Fairfield Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Holiday Shop & Stroll once again this year. This is another much-anticipated community event, inviting holiday shoppers to shop downtown. During the evening, shoppers are offered refreshments in participating stores, student carolers will be strolling along Post Road, the Brickwalk and Heritage Square. And to add to the festivities, an ice sculptor will provide demos throughout the evening, and a few finished ice sculptures will be on display as well for all to view.

The Chamber continues to support the “Shop Local, Shop Small” theme throughout the year both on a weekly basis, and on an annual basis. Every week, the Chamber sends out a free weekly eblast to its membership and residents or non-members who opt-in, offering discount promotions from Chamber members, available to everyone who wants to take advantage of their savings offers.

On an annual basis, the Chamber also offers a Street Banner program (mid-January through mid-March) along Post Road. This program offers the business community an opportunity to advertise their business on the banner, reminding residents that although the holidays are over, to please continue to support the local business community not only during the holidays but throughout the whole year!

Businesses who are interested in getting more involved with Small Business Saturday and obtaining in-store promotional items, can contact American Express directly. In-store advertising helps advertise and remind shoppers to shop in their store during the holidays and throughout the year.

In closing, for more information about upcoming events, participation, and sponsorship, please contact Fairfield Chamber of Commerce: 203-255-1011 or the Fairfield Department of Community Relations & Economic Development: 203-256-3120.

Beverly A. Balaz is president of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce.