With Small Business Saturday fast approaching I thought it was a good time to talk to people about why shopping local this holiday season is especially important. We all know it’s the right thing to do….or do we?
I think, sometimes, as small business owners we are so entrenched on the front lines that we can easily forget what the fight is really about. We forget that not everyone out there is as aware of the need for consumers to start making the switch to shopping small as we are. We know it so well because we live it every day. We know that just three additional people in one day can make our week. We know that when you spend money at a small business that money is much more likely to stay within the community. We know that even people who think they cannot make a difference actually can. We also know that if our small businesses do not have the support from the community and the consumers in that community our businesses will not be able to survive.
Until shopping locally becomes as important to consumers as it is to small business owners our communities will never be able to sustain a thriving small business district for the long term.
This is not an indictment and definitely not meant to be finger-wagging.
As small business owners we are sometimes the most guilty of choosing convenience over what would help our communities grow and thrive. Most of us work hellacious schedules that provide us with little wriggle room for holiday shopping. We have convinced ourselves that shopping online or at big-box stores with long hours are our only options, but that is not true. We need to lead by example. We need to make shopping locally important to us in order to make it important to everyone. We need to not forget that the importance of shopping locally is not just common knowledge and that the message still needs to be spread.
I think that having a day like Small Business Saturday is a huge step toward getting the “Buy Local” message out there. When I think about how just a few years ago Small Business Saturday did not exist and now it is a nationwide phenomenon I am deeply thankful and deeply encouraged that there are people out there who are not only aware of the fact that small businesses need regular and consistent consumer support but are actively working to further that cause and this vitally important message.
If we all work together we can make Small Business Saturday an even bigger deal each and every year. Maybe, someday soon, it will be even bigger than Black Friday.
—Dacia Hanson, Old Renton Book Exchange