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Small businesses are backbone of community

November 28, 2019 07:22 pm

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30 this year, is a day to support the little guys. They are the merchants who own and operate the modest shops along Main Street in almost every town in America and especially here in the Twin Counties.

But what does Small Business Saturday mean to us? Well, a recent study by American Express found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 of it stays within the local economy — compared to just $43 for large businesses.

But, in the bigger picture, according to the study, small businesses create an atmosphere — the vibrant, unique soul of a community. They give community members a point of local connection and common experience. Small Business Saturday was born in the midst of the recession in 2010. It was judiciously placed on the Saturday after Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year and a day when shoppers head out in droves to big box stores and even bigger suburban malls.

The intent of the day is to encourage people to “shop small” and take more holiday shopping to small businesses. In 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passes a resolution in support of the day. President Barack Obama gives the resolution his seal of approval.

In 2013, according to American Express, the founder of Small Business Saturday, more than 1,400 people and organizations form a group called Neighborhood Champions to rally and support their local communities with events and activities on Small Business Saturday.

Since the day began in 2010, consumer spending on Small Business Saturday has reached a reported estimate of $103 billion, according to surveys conducted by American Express. Translation: That is $103 billion in just nine days.

This is encouraging news. Small retailers, mom-and-pop stores, entrepreneurial shops and family-owned storefronts are rebounding as big malls switch their focus to restaurants, family entertainment complexes and factory outlet stores.

We are glad to see small businesses, the backbone of every community in Greene and Columbia counties, are not merely surviving. They are thriving in the face of big competition and, in many places, winning.