Small Business Saturday discussed on the Today Show by host Carl Quintanilla, interviewing American Express CEO Ken Chenault
- Carl Quintanilla – You know all about black friday and cyber monday, but have you heard of small business saturday? It’s a movement to get you to spend money at mom and pop stores. Ken Chenault is chairman and CEO of American Express, the primary sponsor of the event. Your team actually came up with this idea over at American Express. What’s the idea behind it?
- Ken Chenault – We really wanted to be the catalyst for a movement for small business. We all know how important small business is to our economy. Small businesses generated 60% to 80% of the net new jobs annually over the last decade. so we really wanted to raise the awareness, get people involved and very frankly, carl, we’re all in this together. When you buy local at small business, you’re creating jobs and this is something that anyone can be involved in.
- Carl Quintanilla – By small business, I imagine we’re talking employees under 50? What is small?
- Ken Chenault – We’re talking about independently owned small businesses. That’s what we’re talking about.
- Carl Quintanilla – Okay.
- Carl Quintanilla – There is a sense, I think, that small business is getting crushed because of the power of the big box chains, is that what you’re trying to fix? Or are you just trying to build awareness in what is already a huge business week around here?
- Ken Chenault – There’s enough room for the big box retailers and small businesses. In fact our ad says shop big today, shop small tomorrow. The reality is that small businesses offer a personalized service, they offer products and services so there’s more than enough room for both, but the key is that what we do know is that when someone spends $100 in small business in a local community, $68 is returned to that community. So small business creating 60% to 80% of the net new jobs, we can all support small business and do something to really turn around this economy.
- Carl Quintanilla – If half of the employed population spent $50 each month in their locally owned businesses, they would generate how much revenue?
- Ken Chenault – $40 billion in revenue. that’s the impact.
- Carl Quintanilla – Do you think it’s harder now more than ever to be a small business owner given the competition from the big stores?
- Ken Chenault – I think it’s challenging, but the reality is that small business owners are creative, they are entrepreneurial, they come up with unbelievable ideas. They have really pushed this economy forward, and what they need is our support, and what they need is they need customers coming into their stores.
- Carl Quintanilla – I can imagine some shoppers out there saying, you know, I would love to buy from the mom and pop stores in my neighborhood, but the bargains aren’t always there and sometimes the selection is isn’t there.
- Ken Chenault – Some of them compete on price, some of them compete on value, some of them compete on products and services that you can’t find at the big stores. So there is room for both big business and small business. The reality is that we do know that small business is responsible in many ways for driving this economy. And it’s all about bringing to the consumer what they need and that’s what small business does.
- Carl Quintanilla – I’m sure you have a lot of small business owners applauding you and what you have done.
- Ken Chenault – I think what’s great, Carl is this is a grass roots effort, it is amazing the creative offers on top of the offers we have provided. I also want to make very clear, this is not just about our card. If you want to use cash, if you want to use other cards, if you want to use checks, what’s important is that all of us in this country support small business. And we’re really focused on making small business saturday as successful as black friday and cyber monday.
- Carl Quintanilla – Ken, good to see you as always.
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