Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, but many businesses across Orange County are reminding residents to shop local with area merchants.
Many shoppers are familiar with Small Business Saturday, the American Express campaign to encourage people to buy from independent retailers and other small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 30, according to the Associated Press. But a growing number of chambers of commerce, small business organizations and local retailer groups hold events to persuade shoppers to forsake malls, big-box stores like Wal-Mart and the Internet in favor of local retailers. They also advertise on joint Facebook pages and recommend shoppers visit other stores in town.
“Small Business Saturday really focuses on spending money locally and how important that is,” said Ida Schossow, president of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce. “Some people may not realize that by spending money at these local businesses, they are helping the local economy. It has a trickle down effect from increasing sales tax revenue to creating more jobs.”
Schossow believes the larger, national businesses such as Wal-Mart are important to the communities in which they serve by generating tax revenue and employment opportunities, but it is the smaller businesses which help communities grow and thrive.
“I think all businesses are important, but small businesses are the backbone of America,” Schossow explained. “And a lot of these businesses we have in the greater Orange-area exceed expectations in the goods and services they offer. We have lots of unique shops here in Orange that are just fabulous, and Small Business Saturday is a great time to get acquainted with many of them.”
Brandy Slaughter, president of the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, agrees that Small Business Saturday is important to every community.
“Two out of every three new jobs created in our economy are in the smallest small business,” Slaughter stated. “Those are the businesses that do our dry cleaning, repair and service our automobiles, clothing and accessories and often serve us dinner.”
Many local businesses have a unique feel or special, one of a kind style that you will not find easily at major outlets and markets.
“One-of-a-kind shops and restaurants are part of what makes our city a great place to live,” she continued. “They’ll often go the extra mile to help you and to ensure you’re a satisfied customer.”
Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year for businesses across the country, and many local businesses count on that day and the weekend, including Small Business Saturday, to provide not only a boost to the respective business but to the local economy as well.
“It’s great that there is a campaign like this designed to promote local businesses,” said Brian Vincent, manager of InFocus in Orange. “It’s always good when people try to remember to shop locally.”
Vincent said shopping at local businesses, no matter if it is in Orange, Bridge City, Pinehurst or Vidor, will only help benefit those respective communities.
“Shopping at a local business helps to keep your town alive,” Vincent added. “Without small businesses, your town will start to disappear. Shopping locally keeps those tax dollars in your community.”