Keep your money at home

Published 10:42 am Monday, November 26, 2018

On Black Friday, and for some even as early as on Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans, including many dedicated shoppers from Western Tidewater, crammed themselves into malls and Big Box retailers around the state to take advantage of heavily advertised discounts on everything from electronics to blue jeans.

Many packed up in the wee hours of the morning, long before the leftover turkey had even cooled off in the refrigerator, and drove distances of two hours or more to carry out well-planned assaults on their favorite shopping destinations. This exercise in retail hysteria has become as much a tradition over the Thanksgiving holiday as football and family gatherings.

For those of us who don’t view shopping as a full contact sport, let us offer up a more enjoyable solution to Black Friday — Small Business Saturday.

Over the last decade, Small Business Saturday has become Main Street’s counterpunch to the one-two combination of Black Friday and Cyber Monday; a reminder that there are benefits to doing business with small, locally owned businesses right here in our own community. Let us offer up a few good reasons here.

For every $100 spent in a locally owned business $68 stays in the local economy, compared to $43 when spent at a national chain. That’s 25 additional dollars that a business owner can reinvest into additional inventory, hire additional workers or put towards their mortgage payment.

Money spent at home also generates tax dollars that fund public education and infrastructure projects right here in our own community, not for those in Richmond or Norfolk. And local spending helps to create an economically stable environment for other local entrepreneurs to invest in the community.

There’s no question that most of us have reason to do some out-of-town shopping from time to time, and Small Business Saturday isn’t about shunning national retailers altogether. But it should cause us to stop and think about how we can better support our local business community and be reminded of the benefits of keeping our dollars close to home. Besides, it’s probably a lot easier to find a parking space here than it is at the mall.