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Andrew Markowski The importance of shopping local

November 20, 2018

Small business is a powerful engine that helps drives the Connecticut economy. There are more than 342,000 small businesses in the state, and they employ nearly 736,000 people, nearly half of Connecticut’s private-sector workforce. Small business owners often employ our friends and neighbors while supporting everything from children’s’ sports teams to local charities.

On Nov. 24, we’ll have an opportunity to thank these local businesses by “shopping small” on Small Business Saturday. It’s a day to find unique items at local retailers and enjoy home cooking at neighborhood restaurants. We bet you will receive the kind of personal service you rarely find at the bigger stores.

In a way, Small Business Saturday is a breath of fresh air wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. After waking at the crack of dawn on Friday, coping with traffic and battling lines, visiting Main Street shops is an entirely different experience. It won’t be another hustle bustle shopping experience. And, you won’t just be sitting at your computer.

A small business owner is likely to be present in the store, know the stock, and be able to give individual guidance. They care about whether you find that special gift because they’ll want to make you a regular customer. And, you don’t have to worry about paying to ship returns.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as a marketing effort launched by American Express to promote small businesses. Now, communities around the nation have embraced it, and it is anything but a gimmick.

Last year, 108 million shoppers spent $12.9 billion at independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey by NFIB and American Express. About 43 percent of shoppers made a purchase or ate at a small business; most said they visited more than one independent business that day. You wouldn’t think something as modest as Small Business Saturday would have such a major impact, but it does.

There are economic reasons to “shop small.” By visiting the brick and mortar stores or other local shops near you, it keeps the community strong. The shop owner and the employees spend their paychecks at other local businesses. They support local causes. That results in a vibrant neighborhood economy.

Participating in Small Business Saturday is a win for you, for your community, for local small businesses, and for local employment. This year give it a try!

Andrew Markowski is the state director of NFIB in Connecticut, an association that advocates on behalf its thousands of small business members in the state.

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