November
26 - 2011

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday today

Are you out running holiday errands? Remember that today is Small Business Saturday. Think twice before hitting big box stores and consider whether you can meet your needs at a local business instead! Odds are good you’ll find shorter lines and better service — and support your community’s economy.

Recent studies have found that local businesses return a much greater percentage of their revenues to the community. For instance, in a 2009 study:

… only 16% of the money spent at a SuperTarget stays in the local economy. In contrast, the local retailers returned more than 32% of their revenue to the local economy. The primary difference was that the local stores purchase many goods and services from other local businesses, while Target does not. The study concludes that even modest shifts in spending patterns can make a big difference to the local economy. If residents and visitors were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would generate an additional $235 million a year in local economic activity, creating many new opportunities and jobs. Likewise, a 10% shift in the opposite direction – less spending at local stores and more at chains – would lead to an economic contraction of the same magnitude. Another noteworthy finding of the study is that locally owned businesses require far less land to produce an equivalent amount of economic activity. The study found that a four-block stretch of Magazine Street, a traditional business district, provides 179,000 square feet of retail space, hosts about 100 individual businesses, and generates $105 million in sales, with $34 million remaining in the local economy. In contrast, a 179,000-square-foot SuperTarget generates $50 million in annual sales, with just $8 million remaining in the local economy, and requires an additional 300,000 square feet of space for its parking lot.

A friend of mine just pointed out that buying from small independent artists at sites like Etsy.com or Artfire.com also counts as supporting a small business person.

Promotional products are a good marketing strategy for small businesses, as well. Meanwhile, if you would like to take away some of the Big Brother creepiness from your Internet browsing, you can opt-out of personalized ad cookies all in one place at this site.

Of course, if you want to just lie on the couch today, or go for a walk instead of shopping, there’s nothing wrong with that, either!

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