TORONTO, ON—86 percent of small businesses say that it is critical for small business survival that people make an extra effort to shop local this year, according to the latest survey data by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

According to CFIB’s estimates, Canada could lose nearly 24,000 retailers and 30,000 hospitality businesses by the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Black Friday is the biggest shopping weekend of the year, two out of five small retailers say they typically see fewer customers than other weekends, suggesting shoppers are choosing big box stores.

But small businesses have not been sitting back. They have made it safer and easier for consumers to patronize their establishments amidst the restrictions and lockdowns imposed by government authorities to mitigate the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The majority of businesses (79 percent) have gone above and beyond provincial health guidelines and most (90 percent) of those relying on in-store sales say they are easily able to limit the number of customers in store. Small businesses have also made an extra effort to serve customers in new ways with many having made the jump to eCommerce and 86 percent per cent of those with a business model allowing alternative shopping options, like curbside pickup and delivery, offering one or all of the services.

CFIB has teamed up with American Express to hold Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28, between Black Friday on Nov. 27 and Cyber Monday on Nov.30 and urges consumers to choose to shop small that weekend.

“It’s easy to default to big box stores and online giants on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Laura Jones, executive vice president at CFIB. “But it’s the independent stores in our neighbourhoods that really, really need a boost this year: their futures depend on it. We’re asking consumers to help by making conscious choices this holiday season and maybe doing things a bit differently. Let’s unite in making an extra effort to support small businesses this weekend to make this critical time of year a little brighter for everyone.”

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