Shopping small

The day after Thanksgiving is famous throughout the land as Black Friday, the day retailers theoretically start making a profit. Traditionally, department stores and big box stores announce their best deals to attract holiday shoppers into their establishments.

This year, the promotion seems totally out of control, with television advertisements for Black Friday touting sales starting on Thursday, running for the entire weekend or even for a full week.

Fortunately, there’s another option that offers the public a way to strengthen local economies and help them compete against the rampant consumerism Black Friday has come to represent.

That concept is Small Business Saturday, a day when folks are encouraged to “shop small.” This year, Small Business Saturday will be held on Nov. 28.

Promoted by American Express, it is an important reminder that small businesses are the bedrock of our communities. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for those who patronize the event is learning that, along with personal service, most small businesses also offer a broad selection of merchandise at prices largely competitive with those of major retailers.

Small businesses also often offer items produced locally by farmers, artisans and craftspeople, sales of which further strengthen the local economy. In our area, where the year-round stores and businesses on which we depend struggle to make it through the lean months, that is a special extra benefit.

Small Business Saturday participants aren’t asking for blind loyalty. What they are asking is that you keep them in mind, make a visit and discover the gems they offer for sale.

There really is no greater satisfaction than doing business with friends and neighbors who support and care about our communities as much as we all do.

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