Shopping to support generosity of local businesses

By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington SBDC

shop-small-logoSPOKANE, Wash. – When local high school officials need prizes for Sober Grad Night, who do they call? When the local youth sports team needs a sponsor or when dozens of community nonprofits need items for a silent auction, who do they call?

Small business owners in every community across the state and across the country.

On Saturday, Nov. 26, shoppers have an opportunity to pay it forward or pay it back by shopping at the small businesses that support their communities in myriad ways, including providing jobs, generating sales tax revenue and giving cash, time or goods to support local nonprofits and other community groups.

Nearly 10 percent of profits donated

Statistics on small business philanthropy are hard to find, but according to Alignable, a social network for small business owners, more than 90 percent of business owners who responded to their survey said they planned to donate cash, goods or time to local organizations in 2016. On average, small business owners said they contributed nearly 10 percent of profits to local organizations.

“We see firsthand how critical small businesses are to the health of our communities,” said Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “Not only do small businesses provide jobs and sales tax revenue, but they are often the first to offer help when a community need arises.”

For instance, at Eye of the Needle Winery in Woodinville, Wash., owners Bob and Lauren Bullock donate a percentage of their profits to Northwest Harvest, which supports 400 food banks in Washington state. Donations for 2016 haven’t been totaled, said Lauren Bullock, but in 2014 and 2015 they sponsored more than 150,000 meals.

“Everyone thrives when we participate in each other’s needs, whether it’s skills, knowledge or funding,” she said. “Happiness comes from sharing what you have.”

Free business advising

Geoff Knautz, owner of the AutoSpa in Yakima and Ellensburg, Wash., said he feels strongly about supporting youth activities near his businesses.

“I was once in their shoes, trying to raise money for soccer or Young Life camp,” he said. “Now it’s my turn and I’m glad to help.”

Small Business Saturday, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is supported by a large coalition of businesses, economic development agencies and small business advocates, including the U.S. Small Business Administration ( and America’s Small Business Development Centers ( American Express ( is a major sponsor of a variety of promotions, events and celebrations held across the country.

The Washington SBDC ( provides no-cost, one-on-one, confidential advising to small business owners who want to start, grow or transition a business. The Washington SBDC is hosted by Washington State University and receives major support from the SBA. Washington SBDCs also receive support from local community colleges, economic development groups and civic or business groups.

MEDIA NOTE: For a small business owner to profile in advance of Small Business Saturday, contact your local SBDC business advisor. Find the advisor in your area at


News media contact:
Duane Fladland, Washington SBDC in Spokane, Wash., 509-358-7767,


Next Story

Recent News

Landscaping for drought and hot weather

WSU Extension gives advice on growing a beautiful and drought-tolerant landscape, including lists of plants, tips for reducing water usage, and more.