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The big local impact of Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30 reminds individuals to shop local and patronize community businesses [Pixabay photo]

Local businesses are the lifeblood of a community. Whether it’s a new coffee shop on the corner or a new bookstore down the street, local businesses are owned by community members who take pride in getting to know their customers and offering personalized service.

They also tend to carry unique and unusual items and can help shoppers find gifts for family members and friends, not just during the holiday season, but year-round as well.

In an effort to recognize the importance of small businesses, the tradition of Small Business Saturday began 10 years ago to inspire families and shoppers across the country to patronize the small businesses that keep communities thriving, boost the local economy and provide a substantial impact on the local work force.

All those reasons and more are exactly why credit card giant American Express created the holiday on Nov. 27, 2010. The campaign launched to help small businesses gain additional exposure, to change the way consumers shop within their own community during the holiday season and as a way for smaller businesses to compete with Black Friday. 

Since then, American Express determined that Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began in 2010.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA], there are about 28.8 million small businesses in the country. Those small businesses account for about 99.7% of all businesses and about 64% of new jobs in the U.S. Small businesses continue to create two out of every three new jobs. Veterans own nearly 10% of all small businesses in the country.

Here are even more reasons to shop small:

• Studies show that by shopping at a local, small business, you’re supporting your neighborhood at the same time. According to American Express, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. Businesses pay sales tax to the city and county in which they are located, and those tax dollars are used to support parks, schools, roads, etc. If you shop online or at a bigger business based elsewhere, fewer of those dollars stay local.

• Smaller businesses have the unique ability to relate to customers on a more personal level due to their quaint atmosphere and desire to keep customers happy and returning time after time. Smaller businesses also are typically much more receptive to customers’ requests and needs.

• Many small businesses give back to their communities by donating to charitable organizations. Local businesses often help advertise for events and fundraisers or donate a portion of their profits to deserving causes.

• Small businesses are the community. The owners and employees of small businesses are your neighbors, your fellow PTO members and members of your church congregation. 

Many cities have begun the practice of hosting citywide events to help residents get excited about shopping local. Check your municipality’s calendar for community events centered around the occasion.

Next time you’re craving a coffee or deciding where to grab a bite to eat, choose local and encourage your friends to do the same. 

On Nov. 30, remember to use #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday on social media.

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