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Small Business Saturday is Just a Starting Point

I think few will argue that small businesses are the primary engine for growth in the U.S. economy.   Where large corporations are sitting on lots of cash and finding financing isn’t as difficult for them as we’re all reading about, small firms are having a much harder time.  Their profits are hurting painfully, financing is difficult to come by at best and often comes with high interest rates, and still record-high unemployment numbers are keeping American consumers at home.

Where big box stores might be able to lure customers in with fancy glossy sale fliers, loss leaders and deeply cut prices, smaller businesses and mom & pop retailers don’t always have that luxury if they want to stay afloat.  Yet as bad as it is now, without these small businesses and the jobs they employ, the U.S. economy would be destroyed.

American Express is doing its part to promote small business with its second annual Small Business Saturday, which immediately follows Black Friday the Saturday after Thanksgiving.   This November 26th, consumers are encouraged to “Shop Small” at locally owned stores instead of large chain retailers to help fuel the economy.   It comes at a time when there is a lot of backlash against corporate America and consumers are turning away from big malls and back to their neighborhood shops.   American Express is even offering discounts to shoppers who use their cards at participating retailers on that day.

This will all be great publicity for small businesses and hopefully strong profits at a time when small businesses need it most.  But it will be important for consumers to remember going forward that small businesses don’t just need their support one day a year – that support needs to be ongoing for our economy to make a recovery.  It starts at the grass roots level, and what better way than to patronize the shopkeeper who will actually remembers your name!

— Steve Odland

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