Shop Local, Shop Small: Small Business Saturday brings opportunity to support local commerce

COMPILED BY JOYCE MILLER
Lake Sun Leader

For those who have no desire to wander through large retail outlets or wait in line to make holiday purchases, Small Business Saturday is a relaxed and less hectic way to get out and explore local businesses, find unique gifts and support the community. 

While big-box chain stores may be the talk of the town, some people prefer to frequent small businesses instead and it can be a fun alternative to get out and check out local places. 

Small businesses include everything from local boutiques, gourmet food stores, gyms to salons, furniture stores and florists. It’s all about spending locally. So, don’t limit the options. Think of places you have seen but never taken the time to go inside. 

The Shop Small Business Saturday holiday shopping event comes right after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday and puts the emphasis on community rather than profits. The event, observed on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, began in 2010 by American Express as a way to promote mom-and-pop shops and small businesses around the country. The event has taken on national popularity for small businesses. In 2019, it is estimated that Small Business Saturday generated $19 billion for retailers across the country. 

With the impact of the pandemic hitting small businesses, especially earlier in the year shopping local has never been more important. Lake area chambers and retailers are ramping up for what they hope is a “shopping local”  season that lasts throughout the holidays. 

Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Trish Creach said shoppers will find holiday promotions getting underway this weekend and continuing throughout the season. 

“We are really pushing the focus on small business,” she said. “It is crucial that we support these small businesses that are in our neighborhoods and in our communities, they are the backbone and lifeline to our communities. They play a significant role in the local economy.” 

Supporting small businesses is supporting the community. For every dollar spent in the community at a locally-owned small business, largely stays in the community in ways that making purchases any other does not have the same impact. The more money retained in the community, the stronger it is economically. 

Creach said local businesses are adapting to the COVID-19 environment this season with safety measures in place for customers, some have online options and curbside pickup. Gift cards from local merchants are also a popular option this year. 

According to data from a study in 2018 from American Express for every dollar spent at a small business, approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. Every purchase makes a difference. 

Small businesses in our area are really the heart and soul of our community’s economy so we’re going to push harder than ever before our  #ShopSmallShopLocal campaign throughout the winter months,” Lake Area Chamber Director K.C. Cloke said. “No matter what day they decide to do their holiday shopping we want our community to have our local businesses in mind before making their purchases.”

5 Great reasons to shop local

1. It's fun. No huge Black Friday crowds. You will be able to relax and enjoy the shopping experience. Stop at a local cafe or coffee shop. Check out the small, unique places. You'll create jobs. Local businesses create local jobs. Often, these are jobs that pay better than those at chain stores.

2.You'll strengthen your community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in your town, go to your church or synagogue, donate to local animal shelters, coach Little League teams. When you spend money in their stores and cafes, you support your neighbors.

3.You support schools, police and fire departments. When you shop small, the bulk of the money you spend and most of your taxes stay local — helping schools, paving streets, keeping you safe. 

4.You help provide jobs.  Local businesses create local jobs. Often, these are jobs that pay better than those at chain stores.

5. You will find fun and unique gifts that you won’t find buried in the aisles of large retail outlets. Great deals are waiting.