Support local businesses on Small Business Saturday

Small business is the beating heart of Louisiana’s economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, it accounts for most of Louisiana’s employers and employees nearly 53 percent of the state’s workforce.

Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is a chance for people to support the locally owned stores and restaurants that support our communities throughout the year.

Small Business Saturday feels like one of those things that’s been around forever, but it began only 10 years ago. It started to help small, family businesses struggling to recover from the Great Recession.

In the decade since, it has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Dawn Starns

Sales figures for Louisiana aren’t available, but, overall, shoppers spent a record $17.8 billion last year on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express and NFIB, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization. That isn’t as much as people spent on Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but it’s over twice as much as people spent two days later on Cyber Monday.

An estimated 104 million Americans spent at small, independent shops and restaurants on last year’s Small Business Saturday. And according to American Express and NFIB, 41 percent of people who took part in last year’s Small Business Saturday shopped small online, too.

What was in it for them? Personalized service, for starters. When you #ShopSmall, there’s a good chance you’ll deal directly with the owner – someone with a personal stake not only in making you a satisfied customer but also in turning you into a regular. That’s a lot to ask, but 96 percent of Small Business Saturday surveyed last year said they planned to shop small the rest of the year, too.

The other benefit of shopping small, whether in person or online, is that it makes it easier to find gifts that are unique, that you can’t find at the mall.

Plus, when you support small business, you’re supporting your community.

When you shop small, 67 cents of every dollar remains in the community, according to a study by American Express. What’s more, every dollar spent at a small business creates another 50 cents in local business activity because of employee spending and purchases to keep the business up and running.

Small businesses keep our economy healthy and strong. They create jobs, support our communities, and donate to our charities. They’re the glue that holds our communities together. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to shop small on Saturday, Nov. 30. When we help small businesses, we help everyone.

Dawn Starns | Louisiana state director of NFIB, the state’s leading small business advocacy organization