Black Friday – once just referred to as ‘the day after Thanksgiving’ – promises door-smashing deals (sometimes literally) at ‘big box’ retail stores across the country, year after year. And what says “I love you” more than smashing a face or two at a superstore to get your loved one a cheap blender or electronic device for the holidays?
Yes, if you have grown somnolent of this annual chaotic consumerism, you might just stay home on Black Friday, make a list of the local shops you plan to visit the following day on “Small Business Saturday,” give up the 5:00 am line-up at the superstore, and avoid the scene entirely – at least for one day.
Small Business Saturday is about “shopping small,” and it is aimed at promoting holiday shopping at locally-owned businesses in your community as opposed to the national chain stores.
These are the stores that are owned and operated by your neighbors, who donate to the school events that benefit Tri-Town children, sponsor the local Little League teams, and support community charity events that benefit us all.
This November 29 is the 5th Annual Small Business Saturday, which was first established in 2010 by American Express as a way to celebrate local small businesses. By shopping local, you support your local economy and the “mom and pop” stores that are a vital part of the character of each of the three towns of Tri-Town.
The Better Business Bureau, which is stepping up efforts to get the word out on Small Business Saturday, encourages everyone to stay local, shop small, have fun shopping in their own community, and make Small Business Saturday part of everyone’s holiday tradition.
Local boutiques might not be able to offer those door-busting deals like the big stores, but what they can offer are unique, thoughtful, or handmade gifts that are almost always appreciated more than the mass-produced items at large chain stores. Sure, there is a use for those items, but pledging to shop small on Saturday and reserving at least part of your holiday shopping for small local businesses is a way of giving on a much larger scale – by giving back to the community and its people who often struggle as small business owners and rely on holiday sales.
This Saturday, head out to your local stores on Small Business Saturday on November 29, enjoy bumping into neighbors and friends, and feel connected to your community when you purchase something special, for someone special, in a store that helps make your community special.
By Jean Perry