If you are among the many North Country residents who will be crowding into stores for Black Friday today, we hope you set aside some spending for Saturday, too.
Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, a movement conceived in 2010 by American Express to encourage people to shop at local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It has grown into a national tradition that strengthens with each year.
This is traditionally the biggest shopping weekend of the year, with Black Friday focusing on major retailers, then locals taking the stage for Small Business Saturday and mail-order companies offering online specials for Cyber Monday.
Of all those retail opportunities, the one that can give the biggest boost to the North Country economy is Small Business Saturday.
If you make an effort to spend some of your holiday shopping budget with local businesses, you will contribute to your own financial stability in ways you might not think about.
First of all, spending money in your own community or county boosts local sales-tax revenue. If you don’t think that is beneficial to your budget, you haven’t been paying attention to how local taxes are conceived.
Sales-tax revenue plays a big role in reducing property owners’ taxes, since many local governments apply that income to reduce the amount of money needed from the tax levy. Sure, the money you spend at national retailers helps with sales-tax revenue, too, but online shopping does not.
And when you buy from locally owned businesses, you are more directly helping your “neighbors.” People from your community put a great deal of work, money and stress into these enterprises. They face tough competition from national retailers who can mass produce and mass market goods.
Small businesses provide the bulk of the employment opportunities that put money in people’s pockets.
Many area businesses contribute to the community by supporting fundraising efforts. They show that they care about local people in need by donating prizes, money, volunteers and places to hold events. They sponsor cultural and sporting events that enrich our lives.
Smart local business owners offer friendly, personal service. They take time to help customers make choices. They are flexible about returns and exchanges. They stock their shelves with unique items that can’t be found at big-box stores.
We hope small businesses will offer special sales, promotions and events tomorrow that showcase those assets and make it worthwhile for shoppers who stop in.
The impact of the jobs, diversity of products and community support that small businesses give us shouldn’t be underestimated.
Local businesses earn our loyalty all year long; let them earn a little of your money on Small Business Saturday.