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Op-Ed: Shop local to support our communities this holiday season

During the holiday season, Americans across the country have a unique opportunity to strengthen their local economies, support their communities, and get great services and products by “shopping small” — visiting small businesses in their own communities.

The holidays give us all the chance to reconnect with our neighbors and, whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee from the shop around the corner or shopping at a local bookstore, every purchase at a small business makes a difference to those who matter most — our neighbors.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is once again partnering with organizations across the country this holiday shopping season to celebrate Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) — a day to honor and support small businesses for being the backbone of our local communities.

Whether it’s through their doors in a brick and mortar store or an online visit to their e-commerce site during the holiday shopping season, keeping your shopping dollars local makes a demonstrable positive impact on our economy.

In so many ways, small businesses are the glue that holds our communities together. The entrepreneurs and owners running them live right next to us. In addition to providing local jobs and contributing to your area tax base, small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to local non-profits and community causes.

Seventy-five percent even donate an average of 6% of their profits to local charitable organizations annually. As of 2019, 81% of small businesses plan on giving back to their community in 2019.

In fact, small businesses typically have a list of different organizations and causes it donates to: 66% give to local charities, 48% support local youth organizations, 42% donate to local first responders… the list goes on.

I encourage you to join me and more than 100 million Americans in shopping and dining small on Small Business Saturday as you check off items on your holiday shopping list.

Each year, the SBA and its local district offices encourage independent businesses across the region to leverage Small Business Saturday to help drive more traffic to their businesses. In addition to support on Main Street, shoppers also turned out for online small businesses in 2018 — among consumers who said they participated on the day, 41% reported that they shopped small online on Small Business Saturday. Shopping Small also makes an enormous impact. Last year, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of $17.8 billion.

Author Steve Bulger is the Regional Administrator for the SBA’s Atlantic Regional Administrator, serving the States of New York, New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As the voice of our nation’s entrepreneurs, the SBA celebrates the 30 million small businesses igniting our economy and enriching our communities throughout the year. Supporting America’s entrepreneurs can be as simple as patronizing your Main Street merchants, which create two out of three net new jobs in our communities.

By shopping small and supporting local business during the rest of this holiday season — and all year long — we can all help give millions of families the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

Your dollars make a difference; help make a positive impact while supporting our economy.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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