Shop Local, Support Your Community
23 Nov 2020
The upcoming Small Business Saturday, November 28th, has taken on even more importance this year. This year, the stakes are high for success. The sustainability of our local business community depends upon a vibrant core of small business owners. We encourage you to be intentional about purchases and shop local to support your community. In Region Five, the communities like Wadena, Long Prairie, Brainerd, Pequot Lakes, and Little Falls, will be welcoming shoppers in a safe and friendly manner. We invite everyone to take advantage of all the great local businesses in our region. Support your neighbors and your community by shopping in person, or online.
In a recent article by Elyert Barnes about how what he calls “conscious spending” at independently owned enterprises impacts local quality of life, “Buying local affects everything from mental and physical health, to emergency services access, diversity, democracy, and climate change.”
Barnes states that Americans spent $19.6 billion at independent businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2019. The continued support, especially now, is important. Small Business Saturday actually began in response to the Great Recession in 2010, so as another year approaches an end, it’s time to renew our pledge of support for our small business owners and our economic community.
Small businesses have a big impact on our sustainability, writes Barnes:
As of August 2020, 163,735 total U.S. businesses on Yelp were reported as closed, with 97,966 reported as permanently closed due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the last Civic Economics Prime Numbers report found that Amazon had displaced 62,000 shops and 900,000 retail jobs in just one year. Small businesses are struggling to survive the tandem challenges of COVID and monopoly.
As much as $7 billion in uncollected state and local taxes were lost in one year by local communities due to Amazon, depleting resources needed to cope with emergency and ongoing needs. Meanwhile, if every US family spent just $10 extra locally each month instead of at a big box or national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to local economies. Our hospitals, fire departments, schools, and other essentials of community life depend on having a strong tax base.
Small businesses not only create the local and state tax base essential to civic life, they also contribute 250% more than big brands to community causes. Shopping locally directly impacts services and programs you care about like first responders, food and housing security, children’s resources, and animal welfare.*
The greater Region Five area encompasses 65 cities, which constitutes a large base of small businesses. To list every sale and open house would be impossible but the important message for owners is to get ready to greet your customers in person or online, and get the word out locally for what you are offering. It’s also a time for donations to local charities, so think locally when you are gathering your holiday ideas together. This year’s Small Business Saturday may not have all the bells and whistles of previous years, but it’s cause it at the core of holiday spirit. Happy shopping!