It is That Time of Year … Small Business Saturday Supports Rural Communities

It is That Time of Year … Small Business Saturday Supports Rural Communities
Extension Specialist, Rural Prosperity Nebraska
Shops decorated for holidays.

John K. Thorne/Flickr (Public Domain)

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Yes, you can just feel it… the weather is getting cooler and the stores are all decorated - it is getting to be holiday time!

Retailers gear up for this in a big way.  In fact, it seems like the phrase “Black Friday Sale” is being used earlier and earlier with anticipation.

“Small Business Saturday” may not be as highly promoted or visible but it is incredibly important to our smaller communities and here is why: The dollars you spend locally recirculate within the community and offer a lot of economic value.   A dollar is more than a dollar when it is spent locally – here is how it works:

  • When a business gets your dollar it allows them to directly pay their expenses for doing business - things like utilities, inventory, equipment and to pay employee wages for labor. 
  • When the business is profitable and stable, your dollar also allows them to invest and grow their business, often adding or upgrading retail space and adding new jobs and employees.  This is an indirect benefit to local spending.
  • Finally let’s look at the spin-off benefits of employees and their wages.  They spend their earning on all sorts of things like rent, utilities, groceries, and everything on main street.  They also keep our schools and institutions open and running

Local spending is a spiral up for communities.  The American Independent Business Alliance has done a variety of different surveys across the nation and they estimate for every dollar spent locally 48 percent of the purchase was recirculated locally at a local independent business compared to less than 14 percent of a purchase at absentee-owned chain stores1.

So as you spend those dollars on holiday gift giving, think about where your dollars are going.  Reach out to businesses both in your community and regionally.  Look at those businesses that might be home-based for a very unique and one-of-a-kind gift.  Ask local businesses if they can order special items that might not be on their shelf.  Think about independent coffee shops and café gift cards that could be purchased for the ultimate local experience.  Nebraska communities have a lot to offer – we just need to give them a good hard look this time of year.