With Black Friday coming up, all eyes are on the big retail chains, and who’s going to open earliest.  Your Walmarts, Best Buys, Targets – they’re the ones who get a ton of press and a ton of sales.

If you’re sick of it, maybe you can get behind a brilliant new Thanksgiving shopping holiday – Small Business Saturday. American Express is behind it, which is kind of ironic, since they don’t exactly scream small business -but here’s the idea:

On Saturday, shop at a local mom and pop business.  Get Dad that new surround sound system from a

local electronics store instead of  Best Buy.  Buy some clothes from a local boutique instead of the Gap. Because small businesses are just as important to the economy, if not more important than the big guys. According to American Express, they create half of the jobs in this country.  And in the past 17 years, 65% of the new jobs have come from small businesses.

So far, the American Express Facebook page for Small Business Saturday has over 2.3 million “Likes.”  One reason might be the discounts they’re offering:  $100 worth of free advertising on Facebook for small businesses, and $25 to shoppers who register.

And based on a survey conducted by American Express, 89 million people plan on participating in Small Business Saturday.  That’s almost a third of the country.

By spending money in our community, and spending it with the business owners who also spend in our community, it could have a bigger impact on the economy than any government bailout to a bank or big business.

Watch CBS News anchor Scott Pelley’s interview with Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express as they talk about our elected officials inability to solve the country’s economic problems:

Some people see AMEX’s support of Small Business Saturday as merely a marketing ploy, since small businesses don’t always take American Express because the merchant fees they charge are higher than other credit cards. But you don’t have to use an AMEX card.  Just spend your money in a local way.  It’s the spirit of the day that counts, and we’re 100% behind it.

[CBS NewsFacebook]