CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) encourage Chicago residents and visitors to spend impactfully this holiday season by choosing local small businesses at which to shop and dine. The holiday shopping season is an opportunity to boost small business commerce in every neighborhood while remembering consumer protection tips to avoid scams and fraud. The recent launch of the COVID-19 Small Business Support program will enliven commercial corridors across the city with back-to-business holiday campaigns. In addition, the BACP #ChiBizShops campaign will highlight various small businesses across Chicago.
“There is no place like home for the holidays, and there’s no place like Chicago for holiday shopping,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our commercial corridors shine bright during the holidays and remind us of the importance of spending in our communities. Small businesses are the economic engines of our city and we need to make the thoughtful decision to support our local business owners and entrepreneurs.”
The holiday shopping season unofficially kicks off on Friday, November 26th, commonly known as Black Friday. While this notable shopping day has traditionally been characterized by big-box shopping, tens of thousands of Chicago small businesses offer a diverse variety of exciting options to holiday shoppers. The pandemic’s unprecedented economic impact makes it more important than ever to support Chicago’s small businesses, including minority-, women-, and immigrant-owned businesses.
Chicago’s Black Shop Friday campaign returns for its second year this holiday season, spotlighting Black-owned businesses in Chicago. The City of Chicago, in partnership with the Chicago Urban League, Black Shop Friday sponsor Target, urges shoppers to “spend green, shop Black” during the holiday season through the campaign. By highlighting individual businesses, the campaign raises awareness of the contributions of Black-owned businesses across the city. The campaign is dedicated to amplifying Black voices and culture while informing consumers of the many options they have for their holiday shopping. Learn more about the campaign, including the business directory by visiting
“It is a wonderful time of the year for both retailers and consumers,” said BACP Acting Commissioner Kenneth J. Meyer. “When we shop local, we are stimulating neighborhood economies and shaping the character of our communities. When we do our shopping locally, 68 cents on every dollar actually stays in our local economy – that translates to economic opportunity in every corner of Chicago.”
The day after Thanksgiving, this year Saturday, November 27, is commonly referred to as Small Business Saturday and is an opportunity to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for our communities. More than half of all Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create about two-thirds of new jobs in the U.S. each year. As our city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, our small businesses need support. Whether you are shopping online or in-person this year, jumpstart holiday spending by making the conscious decision to patronize a small business in a Chicago neighborhood.
To drive spending along Chicago’s commercial corridors, the recently announced COVID-19 Small Business Support program will channel resources to local businesses to further revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors. The program leverages the business development expertise and credibility of community-based business support organizations to connect local small businesses with vital resources to ensure they recover and thrive. The program features back-to-business campaigns that will be visible throughout the entire city, including commercial corridors in neighborhoods such as downtown, Little Village, Chatham, Rogers Park, and Garfield Park.
“We will be collaborating with our business service organization to spread the word about shopping locally,” said BACP Chief Small Business Officer Kenya Merritt. “With the advent of this year’s neighborhood holiday shopping campaigns, Chicago’s commercial corridors will be more lively than ever. Our partners are there to support and promote commercial corridors and it’s our responsibility as consumers to make the choice to support our local small businesses. This is the perfect time to explore and enjoy neighborhood corridors across Chicago.”
“Our upcoming Winter Walk on Wilson kicks off the holiday shopping season with a push to bring exposure and boost sales for small businesses,” said Sarah Wilson, Executive Director of Uptown Chamber of Commerce. “With the COVID-19 Small Business Support Program, we’re able to spread more holiday cheer by adding live music and art to our commercial corridors. We’re also presenting Uptown Strong business spotlights and producing and distributing a food guide to spur economic growth well into the New Year.”
“We encourage Chicagoans to continue to make a difference in our city by shopping locally and supporting small business owners,” said Abraham Lacy, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Far South CDC. “Chicago’s many corridors offer diverse shopping options and experiences unique to our city. Our Holiday Pop-Up Shop, an initiative under the COVID-19 Small Business Support Program, is supporting local retailers by gathering customers in one accessible location. We’re looking forward to our next pop-up on Friday, December 17th from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at 837 W. 115th Street. During this event, customers will be able to browse products from a variety of vendors, while small business owners reach a new customer base.”
During the holiday season, BACP will be visiting small businesses to promote neighborhood shopping this holiday season through the #ChiBizShops campaign. Businesses will be highlighted through a digital campaign. Small businesses from Norwood Park to Pilsen and Rogers Park to Bronzeville connect customers with unique products, food, and services. The campaign is aimed to drive consumers to these retailers. Seventy-eight percent of small business owners say that positive feedback on social media is a significant driver of business and 89% of consumers say they are more likely to shop at a small business that friends or peers have recommended. many of Chicago’s local business service organizations are running local campaigns to support small businesses in neighborhoods throughout the city. BACP will be featuring businesses and holidays campaigns on our social media. To stay connected, follow ChicagoBACP on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 
The holiday season also brings with it a robust offer of seasonal employment opportunities. Chicago’s Fair Workweek Ordinance requires certain employers to provide workers with predictable work schedules and compensation for certain schedule changes so that workers can plan for themselves and their families. To learn more about the Fair Workweek Ordinance, visit
BACP also wants to remind businesses and consumers to be diligent as to their rights and responsibilities whether shopping in-person or online. Whether you are cyber shopping, supporting goodwill causes, or browsing at a local store, all buyers should be aware of tips for a safe and successful shopping season including checking store return and exchange policies before purchasing, keeping receipts, checking credit card and bank statements, and knowing gift card rules. BACP protects Chicagoans from acts of consumer fraud, unfair methods of competition, and deceptive practices. This includes any conduct that violates the Municipal Code sections related to business operations or consumer protection, as well as anything that is an unlawful practice under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Learn more by visiting