Shop small this holiday season: splurge on Small Business Saturday


Thom Hill, the owner of Iron & Resin, opened his small business to “bring growth to the community, creating jobs and opportunities for local residents.” Credit: Bella Hall / The Foothill Dragon Press

Bella Hall

In the smallest towns, busiest cities and everything in between, local businesses are a staple in giving these places their soul. However, with chain stores flooding the consumer landscape, local businesses are now in the shadows of retail giants. With independent shops becoming evanescent, consumers have forgotten the abundance of benefits the local business world has to offer.

Who wouldn’t want a cleaner environment, closer community and stronger economy? Why don’t we celebrate the blood, sweat and tears it takes to build a business from scratch? Many people think that Black Friday is the best shopping holiday of the year, but this award should be given to Small Business Saturday, which lands on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday is an annual holiday tradition that unites communities everywhere in support of their favorite local businesses. Black Friday has evolved into the monster of consumerism, but Small Business Saturday brings us back to the roots of what community is all about.

Michelle Stevens, the owner of The Refill Shoppe, believes that “shopping small makes a difference, period. Every purchase you make with a company that cares is a little vote for the kind of world you wish to live in.”

Small Business Saturday started as a campaign run by American Express (AmEx) in 2009 to promote businesses after the recession hit, but it has since become a national holiday. I never took the idea of “Small Business Saturday” to heart, instead opting for the big box deals of major corporations. So when I educated myself on the benefits of “shopping small” I found out that this is actually not a charity-case at all. It benefits you, me and the city we live in by shopping and frequenting a business run by our friends and neighbors. Here’s why your local business will benefit you in more ways than warm fuzzies:

  • They create jobs in the community. According to Zenefits, 55 percent of all jobs are provided by small businesses, and since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million new opportunities. Thom Hill, the owner of Iron & Resin, did just that by opening his small business to “bring growth to the community, creating jobs and opportunities for local residents.” 
  • It puts more money back into the community! The Civic Economics research firm found that 48 percent of tax dollars spent at local businesses went back into the community, as opposed to 14 percent from chain stores. By contrast, large chain stores tend to displace more local jobs than they create, because they often drive local retailers out of business.



  • Local products are of valuable quality and of reasonable price. If you compare the soap made by a local goat farm to a package from a dollar-store, the dollar-store soap is evidently cheaper. However, if you compare the goat farm soap to a similarly organic, all natural soap that you find at Whole Foods, you might have yourself a deal! Local businesses can sell more expensive items, but Hill believes in buying fewer, quality things and making them last a long time. “We believe, that if you build something that is timeless in terms of style and of a premium quality, it may be more expensive, but we’d rather own one pair of jeans or boots that last five or even ten years, rather than 10 pairs that lasts one year,” Hill said.

When you invest money in your local businesses, you’re not just altruistically helping local business owners – it is actually a self-serving endeavor, creating a community with rich character, saving money and, as Hill states, “bringing character and diversity to a community.” So, don’t blow your budget on twelve flat-screen televisions on Black Friday. Instead, come out and support your local businesses on Small Business Saturday!


Credit: Bella Hall / The Foothill Dragon Press


Credit: Bella Hall / The Foothill Dragon Press


Credit: Bella Hall / The Foothill Dragon Press


Credit: Bella Hall / The Foothill Dragon Press


Credit: Bella Hall / The Foothill Dragon Press

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