Black Friday is nearly upon us, and that will usher in the season of gift giving. But before you plan on camping out in front of Best Buy, let me tell you why YOU should shop small local businesses first. Beyond them offering some incredible deals (find them here at Black Friday Saratoga), there are many very important reasons why you should look to our small, locally owned businesses for your shopping this holiday season. Part of what makes Saratoga great are our small businesses. Who doesn't love strolling downtown in and out of all the different shops, stopping into the restaurants, and enjoying their different offerings. I love our community's local character. In an increasingly homogenized world, our unique businesses give our city a distinct flair that you can't find anywhere else. Now think about all that these small businesses DO for our community. They give back. Like a LOT. Look at the sponsors of any non-profit 5K or event and you'll see numerous small businesses who have given money to support these organizations. I myself have been into many of these businesses asking for donations for silent auctions or non-profit events and am always blown away by how much these small businesses give again and again. They also help support each other by working together, and they pitch in and help make our community events the best around.
Small businesses face more challenges than ever right now. With the click of a button you can order pretty much anything online and have it shipped swiftly to your door. You don't even need to leave the house. But the thing about our local businesses is, they offer fantastic, quality products along with some personal service. You can find a lot of stuff you won't find anywhere else. And the important thing is, if you don't support our local businesses, they won't be there for you to enjoy. The way to keep our downtown thriving is to shop and visit the restaurants, to put those dollars into our local businesses, and then some of those dollars will go right back into helping make our community a better place. You won't get that from shopping at a Big Box store.
Plus, small businesses provide jobs for local people. Small businesses accounted for 65% of all net new jobs over the past 17 years and they employ 77 million Americans. Residential neighborhoods served by a successful independent business district gained, on average, 50% more in home values than their citywide markets. Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains. If just half the U.S. employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.
Also, small businesses mean a lot to me because I myself am a small business owner. When I first started this website back in 2011 it was the first of it's kind in our area, and the support I got from our local businesses was what helped me grow, and continue. If you look over there to the right at the sidebar, those businesses are the ones that keep the website going (special shout out to locally family owned Adirondack Appliance, my FIRST EVER advertiser! Love you guys!). And when I went out on my own with the magazine, I was overwhelmed by the support I got from our local businesses that helped me produce it independently. This little business I run is more than just a hobby, it helps me support my family, and these local businesses help me do that. I like to shop at small locally owned businesses because I want to help them do the same. And I think that when you look at it that way, it really is a no brainer. Small, independently run businesses have helped make our country a great one, and they have also helped make our city a great place to live and raise families. If you love Saratoga as much as I do, put your money where your mouth is this holiday season, and shop local. xoxo