Every year, small businesses across the U.S. band together for what is known as Small Business Saturday. The day is typically held on the last Saturday of November as a way of encouraging people to shop locally during the holiday season. If you have never participated as a customer before, there is a great reason to make 2020 the first of many years of participation: coronavirus.
They told us back in March that shutdowns would only last a couple of weeks. It was months before local boutiques and mom-and-pop store started reopening. But now, with winter on the doorstep, states and local governments are talking shutdowns once again. Small boutiques and family-owned businesses cannot afford a repeat of spring.
Local Is Their Lifeblood
Nothing against Amazon, but it has suffered very little as a result of the coronavirus crisis. If anything, Amazon’s volume and profits have soared thanks to people being told to stay home. Smaller stores, like The Stockist clothing boutique in Salt Lake City, Utah, have struggled without foot traffic.
Some local boutiques and family-owned businesses also sell online. But they still rely on locals coming in the door. In fact, almost all smaller local shops consider foot traffic their lifeblood. Without local residents, their businesses will not survive. That’s why it is more important than ever to shop locally this year.
Every downtown boutique represents a business owner who has poured everything into the store. Every family-owned retail outlet employs people who have nowhere else to go. They have families to support and bills to pay. Amazon stockholders will not be there to help them make ends meet when their paychecks stop coming.
Local Is the Right Thing to Do
It is hard to dispute that shopping online is easy and convenient. Open up your computer or grab your phone and, with just a couple of clicks or taps, you can fill your shopping cart and checkout. Everything you order will be delivered right to your door. How can you beat that?
On the other hand, shopping locally is the right thing to do. Why? Because local stores employ local people and pay local taxes. Many local businesses, completely unknown to residents, contribute to worthy causes like soup kitchens, Toys for Tots collections, kids’ charities, and so on. They are the ones who sponsor Little League teams and make annual summer festivals work.
If coronavirus shutdowns manage to kill off a large percentage of local boutiques and shops, the communities that once supported them will suffer. The resulting lower tax base will mean higher taxes for homeowners. Fewer jobs will mean more people on unemployment. It is a cycle we have seen repeat time and again.
Support Local Businesses
It is important to support local businesses now more than ever. Look, there’s nothing wrong with corporate America in terms of shopping convenience and great retail prices. The biggest of America’s corporations, even if they suffer from coronavirus shutdowns, have the resources to survive. They will make it one way or another. Local small businesses may not.
Small Business Saturday is the one day every year that we shine a spotlight on local boutiques and shops. Maybe we need to expand it to a year-round enterprise. For the sake of local business owners and your own community, support them this holiday season.
Invest in your local community by supporting the small businesses that make it work. Help them survive so that companies like Amazon do not become the only game in town. By spending your money with them, you are investing in the foundation of American business.