Shopping small can have big impact
Instead of waiting in line for the big box retailer deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, shoppers are encouraged to do their holiday shopping with “mom and pop” shops.
The “Shop Local Saturday” initiative was created to improve local economies one community at a time. Unlike big box retailers whose revenue returns to a corporate headquarters out of state, revenue generated by local businesses stays in the community. Local businesses are the backbone of Haywood County’s economy.
Buffy Phillips, executive director of the Downtown Waynesville Association said the impact of shopping local goes beyond the immediate effect of payroll.
"Businesses bank locally, hire local accountants, attorneys and consultants and advertise in local publications," she said. "Small independent businesses are owned by people who are your neighbors. They make their decisions based on the needs and interests of their customers, not by some systematic concept of a distant corporate office."
Teresa Smith, Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director, said she wants to see people “buy it local and keep it local.” She said in Maggie you could find unique items that are indicative of the area, including antiques, hand-carved bears, homemade candies, and gift certificates for restaurant and winter activities.
“Maggie Valley is primarily a small business community,” she said. “Buying locally at Christmas-time helps support the economy during the winter season when many of the summer residents have returned to their warmer-weather homes.”
Phillips said the locally-owned businesses offer original and unique products and services that add interest, diversity and character to Downtown Waynesville.
"By shopping locally, you support independent business owner’s creativity, ingenuity, and help create a more vibrant shopping experience for everyone. It adds community character," she said.
Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood project coordinator, said supporting local doesn’t mean increasing spending, breaking your budget or buying products that you won’t use or don’t need.
"Instead it is a shift in where consumer dollars are actually spent — making an intentional choice to patronize local independently owned businesses," she said. "By shifting 10 percent of the money consumers already budgeted to small businesses, communities around the nation have experienced a boom in local economic activity valued in the millions."
Masciarelli said multiple studies in communities around the nation show that on average, independent local businesses return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales reinvested directly in our community over their chain competitors.
Sen. Kay Hagan, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, co-sponsored a resolution designating Nov. 30 as “Small Business Saturday” and issued a statement encouraging North Carolinians to participate.
“North Carolina is home to more than 800,000 small businesses, and they play a vital role in creating jobs and building economic opportunity in our local communities across the state,” she said. “Small business owners are our friends and neighbors, and their entrepreneurial spirit is critical to revitalizing our North Carolina economy and advancing our recovery… I hope North Carolinians will join me in heading down to Main Street this Saturday to show our support for local small businesses.”
Gregg Thompson, North Carolina state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a press release that shoppers could make a big difference in their local communities by supporting local businesses this season.
"If you want to make a difference this holiday season, shop local and shop small," Thompson said. "Small and independent business owners are among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually every other form of community activity.”
With five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many small-business owners say they'll be doing more to get shoppers into stores during the critical holiday season, according to a recent nationwide survey by NFIB and American Express.
According to the survey, 67 percent of small-business owners will offer discounts on specific items or general discounts on the day, 39 percent of small-business owners are planning to collaborate with other small businesses to promote Small Business Saturday and 36 percent will offer coupons for future offers or discounts.
Shoppers should scan local newspapers and follow their favorite local businesses on social media sites to find specials deals. The NFIB survey found that 33 percent of small businesses are relying on social media this year to promote their deals.