Just in case you missed it, this long holiday weekend featured a certain big shopping day promotion.
No, it wasn’t Black Friday, or even the earlier Gray Thursday, so dubbed to recognize those stores that chose to open on Thanksgiving day.
Small Business Saturday, celebrated the day after Black Friday in recent years, is a promotional initiative of the federal Small Business Administration. Its purpose is to remind us all of the importance of spending money during the holiday season with the small, local businesses which form the backbone of not only our local community, but of the national economy as well.
It is a message we should all heed.
During the rampant commercialization of the Christmas season we are all driven by the idea of finding the perfect item at the lowest price and doing so in the easiest manner possible. All too often we succumb to the notion that the way to do so is by patronizing the big national chains and regional malls, or easier yet shopping online and just waiting for the packages to arrive at our front door.
Too often, those are false bargains wrapped in pretty paper.
We tend to forget that there are great deals available just down the street, where the shopping is easier and more convenient, the service friendlier, and the pricing often just as good as that elsewhere.
The benefits of shopping at home with locally owned businesses are many, but none more significant than the simple fact we need these businesses to survive in order for our local job market and economy to thrive.
When we spend money here at home, it comes back to us through local sales taxes for use on government projects and the benefit of education. It may feel good to make that online credit card purchase and avoid the tax, but it’s not going to help build classrooms or pave roads.
Our small local businesses support the communities in which they are located. It may be enticing to drive a few miles to a major regional retailer for Christmas shopping, but those aren’t the businesses that buy ads in the high school football program, support the local softball team, donate to the scouts and provide the foundation for dozens of local charities. Those dollars come from small, local businesses.
There’s another benefit to shopping at independently owned business here at home as well – these are our neighbors and friends. They are interwoven into our neighborhoods, serving on the PTA, passing the collection plate at church, rolling up their sleeves at the blood drives and volunteering to spruce up the local roadsides.
Small, independently owned businesses do a lot for our area; we need to return the favor during the holiday shopping season by making their cash registers ring.
The official Small Business Saturday has passed, but we should all make a concerted effort to support our locally owned, independent businesses every day of the year.