Pensacola, Fla. — Nov. 30, is Small Business Saturday® this year.
Starting in 2010, American Express designated this day—the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year—to encourage people to "Shop Small." The financial services company reports that since the commemoration began, "Consumers have reported spending an estimated $103 billion across all Small Business Saturdays combined."
Days like Small Business Saturday can help business owners get face time with customers who might not normally shop there, And consumers get to see what they might be missing—the personal connections and experiences they may not always get from online or big box retailers.
Still, shopping small and local can and should be more than a symbolic one-day-a-year event. Anyone who wants a stronger, more vibrant community needs to support their small businesses every day. They are the key to economic revitalization. They play a vital role in creating the 'sense of place' that gives a community its competitive advantage.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs in the private sector. What's more, over half of all Americans own or work for a small business.
There's a symbiotic relationship between residents and small business owners. They really need each other. Small businesses provide jobs and keep the dollars circulating locally. Their owners have an active and personal interest in the well-being of the community. They live there. Their kids go to school there. They care about what happens.
When wealth is created, business owners are more likely to turn around and reinvest in the community.
In fact, small businesses have a far more important role in their communities than ever before. The old "pillars"—big institutions like banks, hospitals, media outlets, and other businesses—are no longer locally owned. The executives who work for them play a critical short-term role in the community, but often they're not there for the long haul. It's no longer a given that they'll retire there. So small business leaders must step in to fill this leadership void.
A purchase from a small business owner is an investment in your community. Who better to support than those who are working so hard to create a better future for everyone?"
Quint Studer is a community revitalization expert, author of Wall Street Journal bestseller “The Busy Leader's Handbook: How to Lead People and Places That Thrive and Building a Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America.” He currently serves as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of West Florida.