Next week – November 26 to December 5 – is “Buy Local” week nationwide. It’s not about small towns; it’s about small businesses. Even New York City is getting on the bandwagon with Small Business Saturday on November 27.
It’s “… a day to come together in support of the small businesses we love, the shops and restaurants that employ our neighbors and reinvest our money close to home, the businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and local economies,” according to The 3/50 Project, one of its sponsors.
Small business add value for everyone, says the Small Business Administration:
- In the last decade, 60-80 percent of new jobs were created by small businesses.
- Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees
- 68 percent of every dollar spent at a small local business stays in the community.
Whether buying food, decorations or presents, buy from a small business. You’ll be creating jobs and keeping money in your community, as studies have shown time and again.
Most importantly, you’ll be maintaining the character of your neighborhood and city. Locally owned, small businesses distinguish neighborhoods from each other, even in the big city. If you don’t want your business district to look like the ones across town and across the nation, shop locally.
I often hear people complain about how every place looks the same but when it comes time to shop, they’re back in the big boxes or the chains instead of down the street. These promotions are an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.
Nationwide, the effort is most visible in the efforts of BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) whose networks boost the visibility of locally owned small businesses. Their focus is very local, very green, and small.
The local BALLE network, Sustainable Business Network: NYC, whose members offer everything from home decor products to party supplies.
For the Small Business Saturday promotion, franchisees of large companies are included in the promotion. The New York City effort is a partnership with Amex, which is providing incentives to small businesses (free Facebook ads) who participate and to consumers (credits on their American Express bill) who shop at small businesses.
(Side note: This is a promotion heavily reliant on Facebook, another example of how social media can be used by small businesses.)
The partnership is based, in part, on the idea that small businesses can’t offer the deep discounts that big box stores do, according to Mayor Michal Bloomberg as quoted in Crain’s New York. The Amex incentives help offset that disadvantage while giving American Express a marketing boost.
Look around your neighborhood. You may find shops and gift ideas you hadn’t noticed.
Are locally owned businesses important to you? Do you support them?