Saturday, August 01, 2015

Shop Small mural, SE 25th & Clinton

The next stop on our ongoing mural tour is at SE 25th & Clinton, where a bike-themed mural graces the side of a small commercial building (which apparently is not a bike shop, oddly enough). This was painted in 2014 by artist Stefan Ways, who also created the Green Hammer mural at SE 6th & Madison. The "Shop Small" on the bike basket is the key detail here: This was painted as part of a national campaign to promote Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday when you're supposed to do some holiday shopping at local small businesses.

In 2013, Ways painted another mural for the Shop Small campaign in Baltimore; that article mentions that the national campaign is actually sponsored by American Express, the huge global credit card company. (Their corporate Tumblr (which exists) has more photos of the Baltimore mural.) This is probably a way for them to try to reach millennials, who (it's widely believed) have less of an interest in "prestige" credit cards and other traditional status symbols than their elders did. The small business thing probably also reflects a desire to get more small businesses to take their card. Many businesses don't accept AMEX due to the higher merchant fees compared to Visa & MasterCard.

Anyway, long story short, when I started this post I figured this was yet another mural promoting our fair city's bike-based smug superiority, and/or a hip local bike store. I had no idea it was part of a national marketing push.

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