By Ben Homeyer
Black Friday may be the longest day of the year. Used to, it was just the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, the pre-Black Friday sales started well before Hallowe’en.
Black Friday, of course, is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but there’s another day that puts me in the holiday spirit. It’s the day after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is when people are encouraged to shop on Main Street instead of in the malls. Shopping at local businesses helps you find unique gifts and enjoy a level of service you won’t find at the national chains. It’s also a chance for everyone to support the independent retailers and restaurants that do so much for our communities throughout the year.
Small Business Saturday began 12 years ago to help small businesses trying to recover from the Great Recession. Since then, it has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Last year, spending at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion, up 18% from $19.8 billion the year before and a substantial increase from the $19.6 billion spent in 2019, according to a survey by American Express and my association, the National Federation of Independent Business.
That included spending in person and online at small, independent businesses as well as meals from local restaurants.
That’s encouraging because small businesses are facing the same challenges as big-box stores. They got through the worst of the pandemic only to face supply-chain disruptions and inflation that’s driven up the cost of everything from rent to wrapping paper.
Without our support, some local businesses might not make it. That would be a shame because small business lies at the heart of South Carolina’s economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration says 99.4 percent of all businesses in the state are small businesses, and, together, they employ 53 percent of the state’s workforce.
The thing to remember is that when we support small businesses, we’re supporting our friends and neighbors. We’re supporting the businesses that support our schools and charities and bring our communities closer together.
Shopping small also makes our communities strong. When we shop small, 67 cents of every dollar remains in the community. 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. They’re the glue that holds our communities together. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to shop small on Saturday, Nov. 26.
I believe that when we help small businesses, we help everyone.
Ben Homeyer is the South Carolina state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.