Guest Opinion: Small Business Saturday is our opportunity to support local companies, local people
Black Friday and Cyber Monday grab all of the attention, but there is another holiday in between that deserves equal ink.
Small Business Saturday will be held this year on Saturday, Nov. 30. American Express initiated Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a means of encouraging consumers to patronize small businesses and bring more of their holiday shopping to small businesses. The movement has grown substantially as local retailers, who must fight through stacks of Black Friday ads from their big box counterparts to reach consumers, offer incentives for shoppers to visit their stores.
“Shopping at a family-owned framing spot or buying a handmade ring from your favorite online small business helps to promote more vibrant communities,” according to American Express.
What constitutes a “small business?” The answer can vary. The Affordable Care Act, for instance, considers small businesses as those with 50 or fewer full-time employees. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a floating scale based on industry type, but its definition of small doesn’t necessarily mirror that of the general population. Certain types of businesses can be considered small if they employ less than 1,500 people. In the roofing industry, “small” is defined as having less than $16.5 million in annual revenue.
Target Roofing & Sheet Metal started out as a small business, but thanks to overwhelming support from the community and a growing reputation as a responsive, reliable roofing business, we’ve progressed well into the medium-sized range.
The National Retail Federation estimates that 66.6 million people will shop on Small Business Saturday this year, just a hair under the 68.7 million that will shop on Cyber Monday. The NRF expects 114.6 million people will shop on Black Friday.
It’s probably too late in the game for a change, but the name “Local Business Saturday” might be a better description for the original intent of Small Business Saturday. Locally-owned businesses employ local people — your neighbors, friends, fellow church-goers, spouses of colleagues, Little League coaches, scout leaders and more. If those individuals then spend their income at local businesses, it helps keep the economic cycle churning.
A decade ago, at the height of the recession, Time magazine published an article titled “Buying local: how it boosts the economy” that examined how researchers and organizations were taking a close look at how money flows, paying attention to the “profound economic impact of keeping money in town.” Researcher David Boyle might have said it best: “For communities, this is a hopeful message in a recession because it’s not about how much money you’ve got, but how much you can keep circulating without letting it leak out.”
Local businesses and their employees also support local causes, like youth sports leagues, food banks, animal shelters and other nonprofit organizations that serve the community.
Southwest Florida is full of terrific small businesses – clothing stores, restaurants, repair shops, law firms, medical offices, retail stores, service providers and more. Don’t just support them on Small Business Saturday; support them every day.
– Casey Crowther is president of Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, a licensed and insured commercial roofing specialist based in Fort Myers.