While big boxes have a larger selection, local businesses are more likely to make sure customers leave happy, and might make an effort to keep their favorite items in stock.
In the age of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s easy to skip over the mom-and-pop shops for the big box stores or online retailers. There’s good cause, however, to keep our neighborhood shops in business, and Small Business Saturday spotlights these local shops.
In 2010, small businesses were hurting in a recession. In an effort to support local shops, American Express launched Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop small and support their local small businesses.
As the Shop Small Movement gained momentum, local officials began taking notice. In 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the day.
That year, business associations, nonprofit trade groups, municipalities and public officials united to form a Small Business Saturday Coalition, encouraging everyone to Shop Small.
• There are 28.8 million small businesses in the country, according to the Small Business Administration.
• Small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all businesses in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration.
• Small businesses donate 250 percent more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes, according to the Seattle Good Business Network.
• In spending $100 in a local business, about $68 stays in the local economy, versus $43 in a large or big box store, according to the Civic Economics Study in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Surveys show that once people shop at small businesses, whether on Small Business Saturday or any other day, they are likely to return for a number of reasons.
1. Unless shoppers live in a large metropolitan area, small businesses are generally closer to where they live.
2. While big boxes have a larger selection, local businesses are more likely to make sure customers leave happy, and might make an effort to keep their favorite items in stock.
3. Unlike big box stores, each small business differs one from the other, and it is a great way to get to know ones’ community.
While local mayors did not have numbers on the impact of Small Business Saturday on their communities, they all agreed that small businesses played a big role in both the economies and character of their municipalities.
Lisa Rackley, director of the Affton Chamber of Commerce said they depend on social media to get the word out about their small businesses.
“Next year, hopefully, we’ll do something to implement more recognition, but I think small businesses are important,” she said. “With Affton Plaza being developed, we can promote more.”
“I always try to shop local and shop small businesses whenever I can,” said Sunset Hills Mayor Patricia Fribis. “We encourage shopping local and supporting small businesses, especially the Saturday after Thanksgiving.”
Fenton Mayor Josh Voyles said his municipality has a good mix of large and small businesses.
“Obviously, small businesses generate more activity, and are the driving force of employment in our country,” he said. “In Olde Towne, we have a lot of small businesses as well as in The Bluffs and outlying areas.
“I think it’s important that we keep them in business, because a lot of the revenue stays in our city,” he said.
Small Business Saturday is Nov. 24, so remember to shop small, shop local, and support your community.