This is the 10th year of Small Business Saturday — set for Nov. 30 — when shoppers are encouraged to skip the big box and online retailers for the mom and pop shop on the corner.

Many locally-owned small retailers earn 25 percent or more of their total annual sales during the critical holiday shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to the federal Small Business Administration. The business decisions made during this important period can directly impact cash flow for the following year.

Along with in-store visits, shoppers also turned out for online small businesses in 2018 — among consumers who said they participated on the day, 41% reported that they shopped small online on Small Business Saturday.

“By shopping small and supporting local business during the rest of this holiday season, we can all help give millions of families the opportunity to achieve the American dream,” says Franklin Sciortino, Buffalo District director for the SBA.

LOOKING FOR A WAY to keep those dollars local? The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce wants to remind holiday shoppers that they can find the perfect gift for everyone AND shop local.

GOACC instituted the Shop Olean Gift Certificate Program in 1995 and that year, certificates totaling $9,000 were sold with 35 member businesses involved in the program. The Chamber now has more than 282 member businesses are participating in this year-round certificate program. The certificates are sold at the GOACC Chamber office at 301 North Union Street, Olean, in increments of $5, $10, $20, $25 and $50.

Last year, GOACC unveiled an online shopping site to enable anyone to shop virtually for the Chamber gift certificates, holiday ornaments and squirrel merchandise. The site,, powered by Shopify was created by Chamber volunteer, Adam Jester. The site came online Nov. 22, 2018, and through year’s end saw $5,275 in gift certificate sales as well as $452 in other merchandise from the Chamber.

How does the Shop Olean Gift Certificates work? Anyone can buy these gift certificates and at the time of purchase a listing of all the Chamber members who accept certificates. There is no cost to the members or the people who receive them. The Chamber provides this service to our members at no cost.

“This program keeps people shopping with our Chamber members,” says Erica Dreher, GOACC’s membership Outreach Coordinator. “This unique program encourages shoppers to discover all the products and services available from our local area businesses. You may be surprised at what you will find.

“After all, it is good business to do business with Chamber members.”

In 2018, the Chamber sold $320,000 in gift certificates — and more than $140,000 in December alone.

Purchasing Shop Olean Gift Certificates is one of the best ways to ensure that the money is spent locally and also helps increase local, county and state tax dollars. The Chamber regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information on Chamber gift certificates, stop into the GOACC office at 301 N. Union St., call 372-4433 or visit