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Other Voices: Start a New Holiday Tradition, Shop Small

small biz 2By SBA Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho

It’s the one thing on which I think we can all agree: with the right support, small businesses have the power to propel local economies and lift up communities. When we shop small – by spending our money at locally-owned small businesses within our neighborhoods and towns – we are helping create two out of three net new jobs and supporting more than half of the country’s private workforce.

Across the nation we are already seeing advertisements and news stories about which major chain is or isn’t opening their doors on Black Friday, or even Thanksgiving Day! What you might not hear about, but should, are the mom and pop shops and the corner bakery which are competing with the big stores with seemingly bottomless marketing budgets. This holiday season, let’s recommit in to keeping more of our hard earned money local by supporting our neighborhood champions, America’s small businesses.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our communities.  It’s a day for us all to do our part to support those jobs and economic growth in your own backyard. Visit your Main Street merchants to find unique, handmade gifts that you won’t find at a big-box retailer. Afterwards, dine small at your local restaurant to usher in the new tradition of supporting local eateries too. The restaurant industry employs 14 million Americans and generates $709.2 billion in sales, equal to 4 percent of the gross domestic product. Many of these small businesses are also more eco-friendly as well since they often provide locally made/grown products, which reduces the ecological effects of long-distance shipping.

As SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, I’ve seen the impact small businesses make on our economy and our communities. For example, Talluto’s Authentic Italian Food, Inc., which has become a Philadelphia institution, turned to SBA resource partner, Widener University SBDC, for technical assistance and capital via SBA lending partner DNB First Bank. Talluto’s now manufactures and markets nearly 90 varieties of pasta, sauces, and other food products in their 50,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility in Folcroft, Pennsylvania with 55 full time and 4 part time employees.

Shopping small packs a big punch to the U.S. economy. An estimated 88 million consumers “Shop Small” on Small Business Saturday®. 77% of consumers said Small Business Saturday® inspires them to “Shop Small” through the year and not just for the holidays. In addition, 66% of consumers state the main reason they support small businesses is because of their contributions to the community.

Main street businesses are critical to our nation’s success and supporting them during Small Business Saturday® is supporting our nation and ourselves. To continue the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, join me and the rest of the U.S. Small Business Administration in shopping and dining small on Saturday, November 28. While you’re out shopping, make sure to tell us about it on social media, using the hashtag #SmallBizSat to amplify your support.

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(The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Free Press.)

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