Elizabeth Jimney: Shop small all season long

You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard about Small Business Saturday? Since a national movement began in 2010, the Saturday following Thanksgiving has been deemed Small Business Saturday. It is a great opportunity to do your holiday shopping while supporting your local small businesses. Join shoppers, organizations and businesses all over the country in celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27. You can find a list of small businesses near you at the Shop Small website.

Why should shoppers turn to their local businesses for their holiday shopping? You may not realize it, but every time you purchase a gift from a local artist or grab a sandwich at your local cafe, you’re making an impact in someone’s small business. Local entrepreneurs create jobs and put their own earnings back into the community to support our local economy. When you shop locally or hire a local business, you are supporting your neighbors and investing in the community.

Small shops also often carry much more unique and specialized items than big box stores. Before you shop online from a big store or from another company in a different state, give your local shops a chance! You may find something new that you weren’t expecting or exactly what you were looking for without having to wait for delivery. Create a special holiday tradition by shopping locally this season.

In addition to shopping online and in-store, there are also many ways that you can support local businesses that don’t require making a purchase. Engage with them online, write a positive review, follow their social media channels or sign up for their email lists. Engage with your favorite local businesses and encourage your friends to shop small this holiday season and share your #shopsmall experience on social media.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to do something special for Small Business Saturday, as well. Promotional materials are available at the Shop Small website that local businesses can use in their stores. Engage with your customers and make it a celebration, even on social media!

We know that we are stronger together. With the hardships our area has faced in recent years, we have learned that a sense of community is irreplaceable. Let’s join together this Small Business Saturday and show our local entrepreneurs that this community supports them.

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University specializes in helping small businesses get started and grow. Appointments are available with an experienced business professional at the LSBDC at McNeese for no-cost assistance. Check out www.louisianasbdc.org or call 337-475-5529 to learn more.

Elizabeth Jimney is a business consultant for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University. Contact her at 475-5580 or ejimney@louisianasbdc.org.

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Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and La .Dept. of Economic Development. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.