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Why you should take part in Small Business Saturday this year.

  • Nov 26, 2011
  • by
For as long as I can remember I have always had a soft spot in my heart for locally-owned businesses.  I make it my business to support them whenever I can.  This is something that I feel very strongly about.  Aside from the fact that I derive a great deal of satisfaction of walking into a place "where everybody knows your name" I find that I usually get much better service in these stores.  Very often the owner is right there on the premises and he/she is quite willing to go the "extra mile" to satisfy a valued customer.  I find that this is in direct contrast to the environment in the "big box" stores where I always feel like I am rambling through a maze amid a sea of strangers.  Small Business
is an American shopping holiday that was created by American Express in 2010 with the express purpose of encouraging holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.  This year Small Business Saturday is being celebrated on November 26th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I think this is a terrific idea that is long overdue!  

Aside from the comfort factor there are an awful lot of very compelling economic reasons why you should support local businesses whenever possible.  First and foremost, local businesses are invested in your community. I f you look behind the scenes at any civic activity that contributes to the common well being of your community you are likely to find a local business person giving their time, product and often their money to worthwhile causes. These are the folks most likely to support the cub scout raffle, the cheerleaders car wash and the PTA bake sale. Local business people are the unsung heroes of our communities. They are the leaders, the ambitious, hard working people who have ideas and act on them.

Another good reason to do business with the locals is that the money you spend in a locally owned and operated establishment stays local.  If you do business with one of the big chain stores most of that money leaves your hometown and as a result you and your neighbors accrue very little benefit from this spending.  Meanwhile, when you choose to spend your dollars at the locally owned hardware or grocery store that money is more likely to be spent again and again in the local economy.  A number of economic studies have found that locally owned businesses generate more than three times the economic impact of chain retailers on equal sales. For every $100 spent at a national retailer only $13 remains in the local economy.  Meanwhile, if that same $100 is spent at a locally owned business more than $45 stays in the local economy.  Simply put, that dollar you spend with the local merchant goes a whole lot farther in the local economy than money spent in the national chain stores.  Clearly, This is a "win-win" situation for us all.

So when you are making plans to go holiday shopping this weekend be sure to include some local businesses in your intinerary.   Sure, doing business with a local retailer may cost you a bit more in the short run.  But trading with local merchants keeps competition alive in your town and helps to keep local property taxes in check. That's because local businesses pay their fair share of taxes.  However, the same cannot be said for the "big box" stores.  In her 2006 book "Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses" author Stacy Mitchell tries to alert a largely unsuspecting public to the tactics and schemes used by these major chains to try to extort money from the rest of us.  For one thing retailers like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target have been gobbling up precious open spaces at an alarming rate for decades to accomodate their mammoth stores.  And as Stacy Mitchell correctly points out there are all sorts of costs that a city or town must incur when a big box retailer comes to town.   There are property tax breaks, sales tax rebates, low interest loans, infrastructure and site improvements, free or reduced price land, job training credits etc. etc. etc.  Seems like the rich just keep getting richer while the rest of us are forced are forced to make up the taxes that these mega-retailers are not paying.  And as the big chains proliferate there is also the loss of genuine community that exists when we meet and greet our neighbors in the local coffee shop or family-owned bookstore.  So rather than occupying some street in town why not make it a point to support your local retailers on Small Business Saturday this year.  Surely this is a very practical way to make a real difference in your community.    Very highly recommended!
Why you should take part in Small Business Saturday this year. Why you should take part in Small Business Saturday this year. Why you should take part in Small Business Saturday this year.

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November 26, 2011
Thanks for your compliments. This is a subject I feel very strongly about and I believe we could change the direction of the country in a very positive way if we all supported small businesses whenever possible.
November 26, 2011
I couldn't agree more! Great review on an incredibly important topic, Paul. I shared it on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, to hopefully help spread the word and support for SMS. I think it's a bit ironic that AMEX is the one that created the holiday because often small businesses can only afford to accept Visa or MC and AMEX itself is in effect part of the consumerist mentality that supports big box stores. So, I think it is an ingenious marketing ploy on their part. But, I applaud you for writing such a thought-provoking piece on this because I think it's incredibly important that we support our local economies or buy more handmade goods.
More Small Business Saturday reviews
Quick Tip by . November 24, 2012
Today is Small Business Saturday.  If you have a chance why don't you get out and support your locally owned businesses today.  By patronizing your local businesses you are helping to strengthen the economy in your community.  Stop and think of what life would be without them.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday created by American Express, held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First celebrated on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

In 2010 the holiday was promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year Amex bought advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders,[1] and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.[2][3]

American Express publicized the initiative using social media, advertising, and public relations. At least 41 [1] local politicians and many small business groups in the United States issued proclamations concerning the campaign,[4][5][6] which generated more than one million Facebook "like" registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday (which had existed since early 2010) and #smallbizsaturday.[2]

Cinda Baxter, founder of the 3/50 Project, was a national spokesperson for Small Business Saturday. The 3/50 Project encourages consumers to commit to spending $50 of their current monthly budgets with independently owned small businesses they care about.[3]

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