November 23, 2012

Editorial: Supporting small business


---- — In the mad rush of Black Friday shopping, we hope people will save some of their money and energy for tomorrow’s Small-Business Saturday.

Small businesses matter — a great deal — in the economic health of the North Country. These businesses are owned by our neighbors, by people who have chosen to invest in their communities, certainly with their money and often by putting in long hours themselves. They deserve and need our support, especially with the nation trying to climb out of recession.

Small businesses give this area something the big box stores can’t: uniqueness. If you buy something at a major retailer, you know it could be purchased at that store in many areas around the United States. But the items offered by locally owned businesses are often limited-edition or handcrafted selections that you can proudly give as gifts without fear of duplication.

A purchase made at a locally owned store tomorrow will boost their bottom line and your sense of satisfaction — because it truly does feel good to know you contributed so directly to the local economy.

Some local stores shared their feelings about Small-Business Saturday on the Press-Republican Facebook page. Urban Soles, which is a new shoe store in downtown Plattsburgh, wrote: “We are hoping people get out and Shop Small this weekend. The economic impact to our community really matters when the money stays local. We’ve created two jobs in the three months that we’ve been open, and we have the local community to thank! We couldn’t have done it without a strong, local base of people who have supported us from the beginning.”

That is testimony, right from a small business, to how important local shoppers are to their economic health.

And it’s not all up to the shoppers; it is important that small businesses do their part to make this day successful. The reason the day after Thanksgiving has become such a landmark shopping day nationally is that retailers offer deep discounts storewide or drastically low prices on certain products.

Small businesses may be more restricted about what they can give up, since they have more limited inventory and can’t buy in the mass quantities that major retailers can. But they have other options for today: They can offer refreshments and entertainment, promote their personalized service and hold special sales to draw more volume.

Small-Business Saturday is just a toddler in the world of marketing, having started in 2010, but participation by local businesses and shoppers can help it grow into its own as an economy-goosing tradition.