In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday. The company says it did so to help businesses with their most pressing need: getting more customers. The day happens every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and encourages people to shop at the small businesses that help write the story of America. Nov. 29th’s event brought mixed reviews from shopkeepers locally.
As we close in on Christmas, and there remains shopping to be done, we asked ourselves, “Why only Small Business Saturday? Why not Small Business Every Day?” Despite whatever rhetoric you may hear coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., small businesses comprise the backbone of enterprise in this great nation.
For every national baked-goods chain, there are thousands of mom-and-pop storefronts waiting to serve you, almost all with home-cooked, made-from-scratch servings. And for every Major Muffler Outlet, there are scores of corner garages (that’s what we used to call them, anyway) everywhere ready, willing and able to fix what ails your vehicle. And for every Fashion Earring and Doodad Shop International, there exists many one-off gift shops with unique offerings designed, crafted and packaged – GASP! – in the United States. So, it should be Small Business Every Day.
Consider that as make your list and check it twice. Go ahead and make the pilgrimage to the mall or the big-box retailer, but add to your itinerary one or more of the locally owned businesses, where you actually can find gifts not available in Walla Walla, Wash., and where you truly can make a difference for those who receive as much as those who sell.
And when you hand over your cash for the items you’ve chosen, give yourself credit for helping the economy at a very local-local level. The merchants will thank you sincerely, and you’ll have done a very good deed. And you don’t need to wait until the Saturday after next Thanksgiving to do it. Now, if we could only find someone to wrap these gifts we’ve bought…