Support for small businesses
This holiday season, I saw advertising for something completely new: Small Business Saturday. It’s a new shopping day that was supported by American Express’ small business unit and several business associations and city tourism bureaus. I don’t know how successful the effort was, but more than 1.1 million people had “liked” it on Facebook.
Yes, the cynic in me realizes that the whole thing was started by a division of a large credit card corporation, but I still like the sentiment behind it. The “think local” movement is small but growing, and the movement’s home page notes that small businesses greatly contribute to local economy and employment numbers.
Corporations will never be threatened by small businesses. There is a comfort in big-box stores, knowing that when I enter a big box store or a chain supermarket in Atlanta, Chicago or Dallas, I know exactly what’s going to be there. There’s a convenience in shopping at an all-in-one grocery store or mega-mall instead of a series of boutique stores and food shops.
Still, some of my favorite music purchases have been made at an indie record store in Austin, Texas, and not a Best Buy. Some of the best restaurants in my neighborhood are one-of-a-kind places, not chains. The best corned beef I’ve ever had came from a sausage shop in Austell, Ga., and the best brats from a family-run business in Wisconsin.
So, corporate sponsorship or not, I’m hoping that Small Business Saturday sticks around. Maybe consumers who go shopping at local places on that one day will realize that big retailers and nationwide brands don’t hold the monopoly on quality items. It would be nice for more people to develop an appreciation for their local businesses and think outside the big box every once in a while.
Have a wonderful holiday season, IP readers, and I wish you all continued success in the New Year.