MADERA COUNTY – Before making plans to set up camp at a big box store in Fresno for Black Friday, consider making it a very happy holiday season for your friends and neighbors by doing any shopping you can at your local businesses.
Saturday, Nov. 30 is the fourth year marking Small Business Saturday, dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.
First conceived as a corporate initiative, the concept has grown into a movement to counter Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, which takes place a few days later.
Small Business Saturday is a reminder to consumers: keep your holiday shopping dollars in your own community and support local jobs. There may be items on your list that you can’t to find in your home town, but there are also hundreds of businesses in the mountain area that are filled with unique items sure to make someone on your list jump for joy.
This year, Small Business Saturday founder American Express, along with partners FedEx, Foursquare, Twitter and the United States Postal Service, are each offering perks like free printing and free online advertising for businesses who participate in their program. A survey indicates that 70% of small businesses nationwide believe this campaign will be help to bring new customers into their stores.
“Local business are a vital part of our community and play an important role in maintaining the health of our national economy,” say organizers.
“Nearly half the U.S. total retail sales are generated from independent retailers (Source: Amex and Civic Economics). Small businesses maintain jobs in the community and local businesses support the community in many ways, from paying taxes to generously contributing to every silent auction and benefit raffle that comes their way. That’s especially true in the mountain area.
Oakhurst shop Branches Books and Gifts owner Anne Driscoll is all in favor of the special recognition this coming Saturday receives.
“Ever since I’ve opened, people have been very supportive and the majority of people do try to shop locally and support our community.” Driscoll says with assurance. “I know that it’s a true compliment to have people choose to spend their hard-earned money in my shop.”
Driscoll highlights some of the advantages of being a small business, or shopping at one.
“Small business owners are afforded the privilege of really getting to know their customers and their communities, and they try to cater their buying to those customers. I know that I do. I love finding new, unique toys and books that people may not have known about. And I love it when people share their favorite books with me.”
While closed on Thanksgiving, Driscoll will be open on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. She hopes you’ll stop in for some holiday shopping this weekend, as do the many merchants in our region who are looking forward to your business.
Organizers say research indicates that for every $100 spent at a local store, $68 dollars stays in your community. Chain store shopping leaves only $43 in your community. When you shop virtually, virtually nothing ends up in your own town. Shopping locally supports your own neighborhood with money that’s fed back into schools, emergency services, road repair and jobs.
Overall last year, it’s estimated $5.5 billion was spent shopping at independent small businesses and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.