Viewpoint: Writer reminds to shop local on Small Business Saturday
With Black Friday just around the corner, here is what to expect.
The event (notice I did not call it a holiday) was, until a few years ago, a huge selling event for the retail industry. It started sometime in the wee hours of the morning after Thanksgiving and ran until the end of the business on the same day. Shoppers would come to the store, sometimes camping out on the front sidewalk of their favorite big box store to be the first one to enter the store in those wee hours I talked about, so as to take advantage of one or more of the daily specials that were offered by that store, wanting to make sure that they would get said specials before the second person in line or before that item was sold out. Remember Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo or Furbys? This caused issues for the big box stores to have enough of the items and to worry about crowd control in the front sidewalk and their front entrance. Because of these issues and the success of the day, the big boxes have had to, in order to stay competitive, open earlier and earlier. Now the big boxes have even opened on Thanksgiving to remain one step ahead of the competition. I’m sure that this trend will continue get earlier and earlier every year.
Noticed that I used the phrase “big box” more than once? Lost in all this is the local small retailer. Most small retail stores cannot compete with the big boys with drawing in customers on Black Friday, and I know that whatever I say here is not going to change anyone’s mind on where to shop on Black Friday. And don’t get me started talking about Cyber Monday.
So let me tell you about Small Business Saturday. I don’t know who thought of this but it’s great and I wish I had. Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Black Friday and it is a day that is devoted to small retail business, whether it is stores or convenience stores or restaurants or any other small business. The idea is to have a day that is devoted to the small “Mom and Pop” stores. They sell holiday merchandise also but I think most people don’t think of them when they conduct their holiday shopping. We have all heard the plight of these stores when the big boys come to town.
So I say this. I have decided that a 25 percent of my holiday budget should be spent in these stores. I don’t think this is too much to ask. What if every customer committed to at least 25 percent of their holiday budget spent in a small business? How much of an effect would that make to the local economy? How would that effect employment in the town? Can anyone see a downside? Love him or hate him, even the President of the United States personally shopped small business’s last year in the Washington D.C. area.
Even if you can’t spend it all in S.M.S., you have the whole holiday season to catch up.
So what do you think? Let’s try it.
-Curt Schrage, Rhinelander