I’ve been seeing Black Friday ads since before Halloween, but what really puts me in the holiday spirit is Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Saturday after Black Friday. It’s when people support local businesses by shopping on Main Street instead of at the malls.
Shopping at independent shops helps you find unique gifts and enjoy a level of service you won’t find at the national chains. It’s also a chance to support the independent retailers and restaurants that do so much for our communities throughout the year.
Small Business Saturday began 12 years ago to help small businesses as they rebounded from the Great Recession. Since then, it has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Last year, spending at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion, up 18% from $19.8 billion the year before and a substantial increase from the $19.6 billion spent in 2019, according to a survey by American Express and my association, the National Federation of Independent Business. That included spending in person and online at small, independent businesses as well as dining in or ordering out from local restaurants.
That’s encouraging because small businesses are facing the same challenges as big-box stores. They got through the worst of the pandemic only to face supply-chain disruptions and inflation that’s driven up the cost of everything from raw materials to wrapping paper.
Without our support, some local businesses might not be around a year from now. That would be a shame because small business lies at the heart of Kentucky’s economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration says 99.3% of all businesses in the commonwealth are small businesses, and, together, they employ 43.3% of the commonwealth’s workforce.
When we support small businesses, we’re supporting our friends and neighbors. We’re supporting the businesses that support our schools and charities and bring our communities closer together.
Shopping small also makes our communities strong. When we shop small, 67 cents of every dollar remains in the community, according to another American Express and NFIB survey. In addition, every dollar spent at a small business creates another 50 cents in local business activity because of employee spending and purchases to keep these businesses going.
The bottom line is that Kentucky’s economy is build on its small businesses. They’re the glue that holds our communities together. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to shop small on Saturday, Nov. 26.
I believe that when we help small businesses, we help everyone.
Tom Underwood is the Kentucky state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.