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Opinion: Show support for local businesses this Saturday

Local businesses have been through a lot during the last 21 months as they tried to negotiate all of the pitfalls associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, they are now faced with inflationary concerns that are driving up prices; they are finding it more difficult to keep adequately staffed, and there is ever-present concerns to remain competitive with mega-chain businesses.

Well, tomorrow, we all have an opportunity to say “thank you” to these businesses in our communities and to do it in a tangible way by supporting them on Small Business Saturday.

This event, which was created in the midst of the Great Recession in 2010, is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the day after Black Friday.

Its goal is to encourage shoppers to “shop small” and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our communities’ retail footprint.

In an effort to support their local communities, organizations sign up to serve as Neighborhood Champions. These supporters bring their community together with events and activities that complement Small Business Saturday.

Think about it. Every time you buy a cup of coffee, enjoy a sandwich at a local restaurant or select a gift from a local business, either in-person or online, you’re shopping small and making a difference.

As a locally owned business itself, the Times News is committed to helping small businesses stay viable. The dollars you spend locally add up and help not only the business you’re patronizing, but you’re also helping your community and yourself, because these businesses pay local taxes, support local activities and are there to lend a local helping hand.

I want to ask you a personal question: Many of you are involved with groups and organizations which depend on fundraising to remain relevant. Don’t many of your organizations rely on local businesses to make donations of cash and/or products for your events, auctions, raffles, etc.? When was the last time you received a donation from amazon.com or eBay? Shouldn’t one hand wash the other, especially during these critical times?

The decision-making done by these businesses is made locally, not in some far-flung corporate office.

Sponsored nationally by American Express, Small Business Saturday reminds consumers that they play a key role in helping small businesses thrive. When you shop local, you get more than just the items that you want quickly and conveniently, you’re indirectly helping local schools and charities.

Shopping locally means jobs for local residents. When the number of jobs grows, it makes for a more prosperous and vibrant community, a better place to live and work and a healthier economy.

Local businesses offer unique local items and serve as exclusive outlets for these products and services.

What I am asking you this holiday season is to take at least some, if not all, of the money you would spend on in-person and online purchases to help our local merchants.

Along with these local retailers, I want to mention other small businesses, especially restaurants whose owners have been navigating the choppy waters of shutdowns, reduced capacity, fewer hours, constantly searching for employees to remain as fully staffed as possible and other frustrating challenges which have eaten into their profits and savings.

This coming weekend would be the perfect opportunity for all of us to say “thank you” in a meaningful way with our patronage, good will and support.

By Bruce Frassinelli | tneditor@tnonline.com

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.