Being thankful for opportunities like Small Business Saturday

Being thankful for opportunities like Small Business Saturday

THE ISSUE: Holiday shoppers often think of the nearest mall as their shopping destination as opposed to looking to their own community first.

OUR VIEW: Small Business Saturday symbolizes the need to remember small businesses all year long.

Black Friday is upon us, and we all know some shoppers who travel out of town to the nearest mall or discount store to bargain hunt for Christmas. It’s unfortunate that when thinking of the Christmas shopping season, it’s often the malls or big discount stores that seem to get all the attention when small businesses are at the heart of what keeps most communities afloat. Thank goodness for Small Business Saturday.

Many arguments can be made to bolster the idea of shopping at small businesses. Small business owners tend to live in the communities in which their businesses are located, which means the money spent in the business tends to stay in the community, thereby helping other small businesses. Small businesses tend to hire local folks who also are more likely to spend their paychecks in the community. It’s a little circle of success if you think about it.

The more successful a community’s small businesses, the more likely that community is to thrive, especially in rural areas where resources are often limited. When people have to travel significant distances to find employment, the more likely they will spend some of what they earn in the community in which they work — for convenience, if nothing else. The more jobs available in any community, the more likely money earned by residents of that community will stay there. This is why small businesses are vital and why events like Small Business Saturday are so important.

Whenever money is spent on most retail goods and services, a portion of the sales tax ends up in the coffers of the community in which the business is located. Cities can spend that money a number of ways, but, to be honest, most communities are faced with aging infrastructure in dire need of repairs or replacement. Every dime a consumer spends generates revenue for a community, it’s a matter of choice which community gets that revenue. When one chooses to patronize local small businesses, the choice is then made to support the community in which those businesses are located.

Although the economic benefits of shopping at a small business can’t be overlooked, there are other benefits of shopping small all year ‘round. The customer service one receives at a small business is unbeatable. How frustrating is it to go to a big box store and ask one of the workers about a specific product, only to have that employee read directly from the box, which, of course, you could have done yourself? They have little to no knowledge or expertise about the merchandise they are selling. That usually isn’t the case at a small business where, often, the person behind the counter is the one who ordered and stocked the merchandise to fill a specific need. They know about the products because they are the one who decided to put it on the shelves in the first place.

Small business often carry unique items that just aren’t found in big box stores where everything is identical to merchandise found in all their stores. It’s unlikely one can find unique items made by local craftsmen in department stores. Local small businesses are much more likely to carry items grown or manufactured locally, which feeds the local economy twofold.

There are as many reasons to shop at small businesses as there are people who shop at them. Saturday, Nov. 24, is Small Business Saturday and it serves as a reminder that those businesses need our support as much as our communities need them to survive and thrive.