SPOKANE, Wash.—Shopping at a locally owned small business on Small Business Saturday is a little like sending your mom a card on Mother’s Day. The gesture means more if it’s not your only communique of the year.
The Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) encourages you to shop local not only on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving—Small Business Saturday—but whenever possible. The Washington SBDC is hosted by Washington State University and receives major support from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“It’s important to support locally owned businesses during the holiday season, but the decision to shop local has real consequences throughout the year,” said Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC. The Washington SBDC is a network of more than 30 business advisors working in communities across the state to help entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to start, grow or buy/sell a business.
“When locally owned businesses succeed, jobs are created and sales tax revenue is returned to the community,” Fladland said. “That revenue returns to the community to pay for local fire departments, police departments, schools, infrastructure and programs for youth and the elderly.”
Independent We Stand, an advocacy group for independently owned businesses reports the following benefits to communities, the economy and the environment when people shop local:
- Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains.
- If independent businesses regained their 1990 market shares, it would create 200,000 new small businesses, generate nearly $300 billion in revenues and employ more than 1.6 million American workers.
- If just half the U.S. employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.
- For every square foot a local firm occupies, the local economy gains $179 vs. $105 for a chain store.
- Locally owned businesses are among the first to offer assistance to community groups. Small businesses donate about twice as much per employee to charitable organizations as large businesses.
- Locally owned businesses add choice, quality and charm to your community.
- Shopping local contributes to a smaller carbon footprint. Products often require less packaging and don’t travel as far.
Small Business Saturday, which is Nov. 30 this year, is supported by a large coalition of businesses, economic development agencies and small business advocates, including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). American Express is a major sponsor of a variety of promotions, events and celebrations being held across the country.
“At the SBDC we have a front row seat to see the contributions small business owners are making to their communities,” Fladland said. “On a daily business we see small business owners who are giving back in multiple ways, from donating merchandise to silent auctions to mentoring young people to serving on committees or heading non-profit foundations.”
According to a 2008 survey conducted for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, three-quarters of small business owners contribute to charities, with that percentage growing to 80 percent among companies earning less than $1 million.
The Washington SBDC is part of the America’s SBDC program, the nation’s oldest small business advising program, with nearly 1,000 SBDC offices located in communities across the U.S. and its territories. Confidential, one-on-one advising is provided at no cost to the client and is available to any small business owner or entrepreneur in the country, no matter where they live.
If you are looking for a small business owner to profile in advance of Small Business Saturday, your local SBDC business advisor is a great resource for finding people who are contributing to their communities in truly remarkable ways. You can find the advisor in your area at www.wsbdc.org.
- Duane Fladland, Washington Small Business Development Center, email@example.com, 509-358-7767