American Express’s effort to designate the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day to patronize Small Businesses is Great…But Misses a Key Group.American Express deserves enormous credit for their initiative to remind Americans that their shopping decisions can have a colossal impact on small businesses and in turn, the American economy. Most notably, Amex puts their money where their mouth is by directly paying shoppers $25 for shopping at a small business. We were disappointed; however, to read in their fine print that Amex excludes# an engine of small business and a vital job creator: franchise owners. The franchise community covers over 825,000 small businesses across 300 business lines, providing nearly 18 million jobs and generating over $2.1 trillion to the U.S. economy.
We strongly encourage American Express to rethink their restriction on franchise business owners. Franchisees are small business owners by nearly every definition. To illustrate the point, let me tell you about Craig Rector, an independent franchise owner-operator of a Quiznos restaurant. Craig followed his 21 years in the army with a stint as a bank auditor before being laid off. He invested his savings, took out an SBA loan secured through a bank he found on BoeFly.com, and opened a Quiznos in Las Vegas, NV. This Army Veteran and new small business owner has created 5 jobs in Las Vegas, a community that has been hurt badly in this economy.
When we visited with Craig recently, we were reminded that he, like all franchisees, is the epitome of a small business owner. First and foremost he works tirelessly to deliver for his customers. His pride in serving good food, at a good price, in a clean location is the same as any mom-and-pop proprietor. And what’s more, if Craig can’t meet his financing obligations he is personally at risk. Should he fail to meet his bank loan, the banker will be looking for him to personally make good.
Amex has done well with their initiative but they can do better by helping the Craigs of the world (who by the way gladly accepts the American Express card!).
 Offer Terms
Eligible small business merchants are independently owned small businesses located in the United States that accept the American Express Card. Purchases made at large or national chain stores, at franchised business locations and at government agencies are not eligible.