The madness of Black Friday seems to begin earlier and earlier every year. The post-Thanksgiving shopping event is beginning to attempt to trump the actual holiday with many retailers opting to begin their sales the day of Thanksgiving. But there is an alternative for spending your hard earned dollars that will help keep money in your Eastside communities – Small Business Saturday, which has been held on the Saturday that falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday since 2010. The movement was started by American Express and is meant to encourage shoppers to spend money on locally made products and small businesses.

Eastside cities like Kirkland have embraced the movement by holding  promotional shopping events on Small Business Saturday for the past few years. This year, in addition to many local businesses participating in Small Business Saturday, Kirkland will hope to draw more shoppers to the city throughout the weekend with its Winterfest Holiday Tree Lighting and Music Festival on Sunday, Nov. 30 from 2 to 6pm.

“Kirkland is a city of small businesses. Most of them employ about five people, and about 40 percent of our businesses are home businesses,” said Ellen Miller Wolfe, the economic development manager of Kirkland. Wolfe added that Small Business Saturday isn’t just about retail – most shopping trips are accompanied by a trip to a restaurant or coffee shop, and Kirkland has that in spades. She said that many of the participating stores also offer some sort of charitable giving on Small Business Saturday that you won’t see at big box stores or malls on Black Friday.

Wolfe said the city does quite a bit to help promote small businesses, including providing money to the Downtown Association to put on events like Winterfest and suspending a tax for new small businesses that have less than 10 full time employees for their first year of operation in Kirkland.

Do you participate in Small Business Saturday? Where do you shop? Do you consider it a worthwhile endeavor? Let us know in the comments below.