Jason Camis
Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce
There are almost 250,000 small businesses in Kansas employing almost 600,000 individuals. That’s a pretty impressive number, especially when you consider that the state only has around 3 million residents. But what’s even more important is the impact that these small businesses have on our communities.
This year I’ve committed to buying as many of my holiday gifts I can from small businesses. Each year American Express asks us to do the same and gives us a day to celebrate (and shop!) these businesses – Small Business Saturday, falling this year on Nov. 26 Small Business Saturday is still in its infancy, with this year being the seventh year overall. But the numbers behind it are pretty impressive considering that in 2015 over 95 million people nationwide went shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.
I’m asking you to consider shopping on Small Business Saturday or better yet, considering shopping small this holiday season as much as you can. Here are three reasons why it’s important…
1. It boosts the local economy. One well-known study showed that when you shop local around 68 percent of what you spend will stay in the local economy, compared to 43 percent when you shop elsewhere. That translates to a significant impact for any community. The main reason is that in many of the small business you might shop, the owners and majority of the employees live in the same community. They spend a higher percentage of their revenue in the local community as a return. Which brings me to point number 2…
2. It invigorates (and generally supports) your friends and neighbors. Odds are, on any street you live in the city, even out on some back country road, you have a neighbor(s) with a vested interest in some business in the community. The majority of businesses in Gardner and Edgerton are still small businesses, owned locally. They live and die with our community’s support. And they in turn support the things we care most about. For example, businesses like Blazers Restaurant or Gardner Pharmacy are highly supportive of our schools, from raising money to donating toward important causes. The ripple effect can be felt throughout town, as students have better opportunities for learning and getting employed by any of the 300+ businesses located here.
3. It’s exciting when the underdogs win. Who doesn’t like a Cinderella story every once-in-a-while? (Here’s to you Rudy Ruettiger!) The big retailers all have a day to hang their hat on; and Black Friday isn’t even the busiest shopping day anymore. Why shouldn’t the little guys have a day too? Smaller businesses know that they cannot compete with the millions in advertising and the loss-leader sales to get you in the door on Black Friday. Instead, they make up for it with special service, high-quality products and a unique shopping experience on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.
So be like me this Thanksgiving weekend. Eat some turkey, watch a little football, and go out and buy that Nintendo Classic Mini NES on Friday morning. Then get back up on Small Business Saturday and do your real shopping. SHOP SMALL! Your friends, neighbors, local businesses, schools, nonprofits and local economy will thank you for it.