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Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27 highlights importance of shopping local

An illustration of several storefronts and a sign that reads 'Shop Small'.
"Shop Small" on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27

PULLMAN, Wash. — The 12th annual Small Business Saturday is set for Nov. 27 and the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by Washington State University, is urging shoppers to support their locally owned small businesses.

“Small businesses truly are the lifeblood of communities,” said Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “When small businesses succeed, communities thrive.”

Healthy communities are as unique as the people who live there, Fladland said, but they usually share at least two attributes—a thriving downtown and robust civic engagement—and small business owners are integral to both.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 99.9% of all businesses are small businesses. The definition of a small business varies by industry, but in general a small business is an independently owned business with fewer than 500 employees. Even though most small businesses have no employees, small businesses still accounted for 62% of new jobs over the past 15 years, 46.8% of private sector jobs and 39.7% of private sector payroll.

The Washington SBDC is a publicly funded network of more than 40 business advisors who work one-on-one with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them start, grow or buy/sell a business. WSU has been the statewide host of the Washington SBDC since 1980.

In 2020, SBDC business advisors provided technical assistance to more than 3,652 entrepreneurs and small business owners, helping them create or save more than 3,290 jobs and access more than $149 million in financing to sustain or expand their business. In addition, more than 18,000 business owners attended SBDC webinars and on-demand training in 2020. 

“The Washington SBDC has been providing technical assistance, training and research to entrepreneurs and small business owners for the past 40 years,” Fladland said. “Being a small business owner is never easy, but these past two years have been extraordinarily challenging. 

“On Small Business Saturday, it’s our opportunity to show our support for the value locally owned businesses bring to our communities.” To find a list of participating businesses in your area, use the interactive map feature

Every small business owner has a story worth telling, but here are just a few to consider:

Molly Ray Parfums: Molly Ray left her corporate career in 2016 to turn her passion for creating fragrances and scents into a business. When the pandemic hit and retail sales dried up, she began meeting with SBDC advisor Ellie He to strategize and plan next steps. In November 2021 she opened a new store in Seattle’s Pacific Place, has a revamped website and is back on track. “Ellie has a way of helping me prioritize,” Ray said. “I developed a strategic plan, which has let me see what’s working and what’s not….She has put me in touch with other people and resources that have made a huge difference in my journey as a business owner.” Find out more about her business Molly Ray Parfums online.

BumbleBar: Liz and Glenn Ward first met with an SBDC advisor in 1996 when they started their business and began making and selling the first certified-organic snack bar in the country. BumbleBars are available in a variety of flavors and the Wards have expanded their business to support others in the better-for-you snack industry. With the help of Vern Jenkins, an SBDC international trade business advisor, they are also expanding their export program. “For the past 25 years, the SBDC has been a favorite go-to resource,” Glenn Ward said. “All in all, we’re super grateful for SBDC’s involvement in our success.”

Restoring Eden: Troy Picou had already moved on from selling produce to selling fruiting trees and shrubs when he began meeting with Taryn Hornby, the SBDC advisor at Green River College in Auburn. His nursery, Restoring Eden, now has one of the largest collections of edible trees and shrubs in the region, including both native and exotic varieties. With SBDC assistance, Piccou has been looking to buy property and expand his business. “She’s good,” Picou said of his work with Hornby. “She’s creative and has high business acumen. I really can’t say enough about Taryn.”

Kelnero restaurant and cocktail bar: Kris and Kali Kelnero opened Kelnero in downtown Edmonds in February 2019. During the pandemic they expanded their take-out menu and added cocktail kits as well. They credit their SBDC advisor Janet Toth with helping them keep up with disaster relief programs during COVID and with providing much needed support and encouragement. 

SBDC technical assistance is provided at no cost and advisors in the Washington SBDC network have experience in every industry sector and at every stage of business development. The Washington SBDC is hosted by Washington State University and receives major support from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Washington SBDCs also receive support from local community colleges, economic development groups, municipal governments and civic or business groups. For more information about the Washington SBDC, go to www.wsbdc.org. 

MEDIA NOTE: 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 or call 888-427-4424.

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