Saturday November 30th is our country’s 10th annual Small Business Saturday, and it encourages holiday shoppers to buy from small local independent businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday, but before Cyber Monday. Since Sunday has yet to be claimed, I vote to amend the holiday to ‘Small Business Weekend’ – but I digress.
On Black Friday, most shoppers race to big box stores like Walmart, Best Buy or Macy’s. Small businesses are often overlooked, and this not only hurts them, but adversely affects local economies and communities in subtle ways that aren’t apparent on the surface.
In the past 50 years, shopping malls and corporately owned chain stores have largely shut down the proverbial American ‘Main Street.’ Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to support the independent businesses that contribute to forming, shaping and sustaining the personalities and character of the communities in which they reside.
My grandfather owned a hardware store on ‘Main Street’ in the quaint upstate New York town that his ancestors helped establish. Back then, main street was bustling with local businesses. My grandfather not only supplied parts. His big personality supplied character, humor and a sense of stability that residents could count on. He, and other business owners, gave the town its flavor. He could agree to a deal with a handshake – no DocuSign forms needed.
Starting an independent business today is tougher on many levels. So not only shop small on 11/30, but also take a moment to appreciate and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit shown by independent business owners who are taking the risk of following their dreams against bigger odds.
And enjoy Small Business Saturday, because it’s a fun adventure! You can find unique products, services and artisan crafts not available at big chains. You can have real conversations with the owners and employees – not to mention your neighbors who might be there too. And you can reconnect with the mom-and-pops that give your city its personality.
So this Black Friday, have fun at Cherry Creek Mall, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. But don’t overdo it.
Save your energy for Small Business Saturday 11/30 – it’ll be worth so much more of your attention, time and money.