OPINION: Support local stores and restaurants on Small Business Saturday

Published 5:33 pm Saturday, November 20, 2021

Small business is the beating heart of Texas’s economy. The national chains seem to get most of the attention, but small businesses account for an incredible 99.8% of all businesses in the state.

Small businesses do a lot throughout the year to help their communities. They sponsor our children’s sports teams, donate to local charities, and create jobs. During the pandemic, they worked to keep their employees and customers safe while managing to deliver the goods and services people needed to get through the crisis.

This weekend, we can thank them by shopping local on Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and it’s become such a part of Thanksgiving weekend that it’s easy to forget it’s been around only since 2010. Small Business Saturday was created as a response to another economic crisis, the Great Recession, a crisis that threatened to put many local businesses out of business.

Since then, Small Business Saturday has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Sales figures just for Texas aren’t available, but nationwide, people spent about $19.8 billion at independent merchants last November on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express. That sales figure was up slightly from the year before – no small feat considering the social distancing and other precautions still in place a year ago.

I think a big reason so many people made a point of shopping small is they realize that small businesses aren’t the same as the chain stores and restaurants. You’ll find things at a small business you won’t find at the mall, and when you shop or dine small, you stand a good chance of dealing directly with the owner of the business, someone who has a vested interest not only in making you a satisfied customer but in turning you into a regular, someone who’ll stop by throughout the year.

That’s important because when we shop small, we make our communities stronger. American Express estimates that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community.

Small businesses hold our communities together, which is why I’m encouraging everyone to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Texas’s economy is a lot healthier than it was a year ago, but we’re still not back to where we were before the pandemic began in 2020.

By shopping local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year, we can help our communities not only recover but help our communities grow.

 

Annie Spilman is the Texas director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization.