On November 29th, Remember to Shop Small – You’ll Have a Big Impact!

John Kabateck
NFIB State Director in California

It’s already happening. Almost every other TV and radio ad these days showcases Black Friday deals that await shoppers the day after we gorge ourselves with turkey and pumpkin pie. Once again, we’ll find some of our friends and neighbors camping overnight or rising before dawn to head to the nearest shopping mall or big box store in anticipation of the money they will save. A recent news story featured two women who have already started a line at a large electronics store in anticipation of what they might save on a big screen television. Did I mention they were in line two weeks before Black Friday? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time or patience…and I like to sleep.

Do you really want to start off your holiday season like that? What if you had a less chaotic, more civilized approach before you as an option?

Well, you do, and here’s the best Black Friday advice of all: Wait a day, catch a few more zzz’s, and shop Small Business Saturday, November 29, instead! The economy and your own blood pressure will thank you.

The concept is simple: instead of one-stop shopping at the nearest big box store or giant mall, or sitting at home and ordering online, you shop at small, locally-owned businesses for things you simply can’t find anywhere else. Instead of dealing with temporary workers who don’t know the merchandise, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing directly with the mom and pop owner and staff who care very much about making you happy so you’ll come back time and time again.

Want even more good reasons to choose Main Street over the mall?

When you shop at a chain store, most of the money goes back to some corporate office somewhere, but when you shop on Main Street, most of that money stays on Main Street, providing jobs and income for your friends, relatives and neighbors.

In this still-stressed California economy, some small-business owners have chosen to cut their own salaries instead of layoffs to retain their extended family of employees. Others have dipped into savings or taken out second mortgages to keep their doors open or to avoid cutting back employee hours. Think most corporations make those sacrifices as frequently?

Begun in 2010, the campaign to shop small has yielded big dividends for America’s and California’s economy. Last year, shoppers spent $5.7 billion at locally-owned shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey conducted by event co-sponsors American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. Last year’s total marked a 3.6 percent increase over 2012’s event.

This summer, Gallup asked people to share how much confidence they had in a variety of American institutions. Small business came in second at 62 percent, just behind the military at 74 percent, but way ahead of big business, which had only 21 percent. A few years ago, the Pew Foundation ranked small businesses as the most trusted group in America.

Alarmingly, however, a Brookings Institution report issued this year claimed a 30-year low in American entrepreneurship. Times are still tough for our number one job creators, especially in this state, with among the highest taxes, an onerous and complex health care law, the most sweeping regulations, and scores of frivolous lawsuits in our communities. Holiday shopping is a needed shot in the arm for the small-business owners who employ more working Americans and generate almost every new job, and it starts with you.

So how about starting a new shopping tradition for yourself and your family this year? Instead of concentrating much of your time and resources on Black Friday, consider doing most of your holiday shopping on a much brighter day – Small Business Saturday, November 29 – and keep on shopping small year-round.

There’s no better way to deck the halls than by showing some much-needed love to your favorite local stores on Main Street. Happy Holidays!

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For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities. Learn more at www.NFIB.com/ca.

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