Small Business Saturday deserves support

Published 3:00 am Friday, November 28, 2014

Let the shopping begin.

Today is Black Friday and for most people that means shopping – far and wide, for sales and deals designed to kick off the holiday season.

The phenomenon has grown to epic proportions over the past 10 years, threatening to overshadow Thanksgiving as Black Friday Creep sees sales and shopping begin Thursday afternoon and evening.

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And Monday brings Cyber Monday, the day that evolved to recognize the emerging impact of online sales on that first day after the holiday.

But sandwiched between the two is Small Business Saturday.

And that day, we might argue, is one of the most important for many of us here in Pike County.

Small Business Saturday began five years ago, when American Express sought to develop a way to incentivise its customers to support small, local businesses.

In the years since, it has grown with the support of the Small Business Association and a national marketing and promotion effort that encourages shoppers to spend the time and their money with the small businesses – retailers, restaurants and more – who are the backbone of our nation’s economy.

It’s proving effective. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses shows that consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion with independent merchants on that day in 2013.

To put the impact of this in context, consider these facts from the U.S. Small Business Association, which defines small businesses as those with fewer than 500 employees and less than $7.5 million in average annual receipts.

• There are 23 million small businesses in the country.

• Small businesses have increased by 49% since 1982

• 54% of U.S. sales happen at small businesses.

• Small businesses have created 8 million jobs since 1990.

• Franchised small businesses employ roughly 8 million people, and make up 40 % of all American retail jobs.

• Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes (Source: Seattle Good Business Network).

• If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy. If you spend the same are a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy (Source: Civic Economics Study in Grand Rapids, Michigan).

In short, small businesses are critically important to our communities and our economies. They are our friends, our neighbors, the folks who give back to our communities and support our local causes.

So this Saturday, Nov. 29, show your support to those hometown and small businesses.

Shop local and support Small Business Saturday.

It’s an investment for all of us.