Small Business Saturday is commemorated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year in an effort to put small businesses on equal ground with big box retailers during the Christmas shopping season. Encouraging people to shop with local merchants benefits the economy in more ways than one, which is why we think that every Saturday should be Small Business Saturday.
Benefits to the Economy
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), small businesses are the “backbone of the American economy.” This agency claims that 64 percent of all new jobs over the past 15 years were created by small businesses. They also report that small businesses currently create two out of every three new jobs right now. Since approximately half of all American workers either own or work for a small business, it’s apparent that spending your money with local companies is beneficial to a number of people.
The Institute for Local Self Reliance is a group that promotes independent businesses and community banking. This group echoes the sentiments of HUD, but also lists a few very important other reasons to shop locally. A few of the reasons listed on this group’s website include:
• Keeping dollars in the local economy, which is something that is difficult to do when shopping at big box retailers, since money may be directed back to company headquarters elsewhere instead.
• Local businesses make efficient use of public services such as transportation, since goods do not need to be shipped as far.
• Environmental sustainability, since small businesses in a central location are often accessible by foot. Local businesses also help to slow urban sprawl, which in turn causes a loss of wildlife habitat and increased traffic.
• Small business owners tend to provide better wages and benefits for their employees than national retailers do. In addition, these wage earners also tend to spend more money in their hometowns, thereby helping to fuel the local economy even more.
• Local merchants sometimes have one-of-a -kind goods that simply can’t be found anywhere else, so by shopping at these stores, you could just come across some unique items that you wouldn’t have been able to find otherwise.
A number of municipalities across the country refuse to allow big box retailers to locate there in the first place. The reason? They claim that chain stores provide unfair competition for local merchants, thereby driving them out of business and causing more damage to the local economy than benefits. In areas where these stores are allowed to build, the competition from small businesses is actually healthy for big box retailers. That’s because it ensures that they offer fair pricing and excellent customer service to patrons because they know their competition will be glad to do so if they don’t.
This Christmas season, save a little money back from your Black Friday shopping so that you can participate in Small Business Saturday. In doing so, you will be helping to make your community a better place, not to mention the fact that your purchases will aid in strengthening the American economy as well.