Keep money in town, help small businesses


When shoppers spend money at a local store, it is a huge benefit to our economy. When you spend money at a store — on or off Main Street — owned by “Jill,” she uses that money to pay her employees. That employee uses her income to pay her landlord, who uses the rent money to pay his maintenance man. That man uses his salary to pay the local mechanic to work on his car. Then the mechanic uses his proceeds to donate to his child’s elementary school project. Those funds purchase school supplies at a local grocery store, which uses some of those proceeds to pay employees.

It’s an efficient cycle.

On average, dollars spent locally turn over between 6 and 7 times in the local economy. A full 67 percent of the dollars stay local, according to the “Small Business Impact Study” from American Express.

Now, compare that to shopping at a Big Box store or driving to Austin to shop. Those dollars either get turned over in another economy (Austin’s) or are sent to a corporate office somewhere, never to be seen again in this local economy. No support of local landlords, maintenance workers, mechanics or teachers.

This Friday and Saturday, many families have made a ritual of “Black Friday” shopping. We ask that our readers save some of those shopping funds for local spending. The following day is now known as “Small Business Saturday” and small business can always use the support.

Another study by the National Federation of Independent Business states that eight in 10 Texans plan to do some shopping at small, independently-owned retailers or eat at smaller restaurants on Saturday. And there is no shortage of small businesses in this market that would appreciate your support and turn over your dollars locally.

The survey also found that: 89 percent agreed Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community; 93 percent of Texans said small businesses are essential to their community and value the contributions small businesses make locally.

Also, about two-thirds of Texans are very or somewhat likely to seek out these small, independently-owned retailers when shopping online on Small Business Saturday.

While big businesses drive the headlines in news coverage of the economy and stock market, small business is the actual driver of the economy. It accounts for 99 percent of all businesses in the state and employs roughly half of the state’s private-sector workforce.

What never gets national news coverage — except in local pages and radio news — is the support small business owners give to everything from charities, to youth sports, to local veterans causes.

Small Business Saturday (and every shopping opportunity, for that matter) is a way to give back to these supporters of our community and support the unique merchandise and meals they offer in this market.

Locally, we hear much about how tourism dollars boost our economy, but local dollars are just as important to keep our small businesses humming.

Do yourself a favor and budget a lot of your holiday dollars for local businesses. You can find a great many of them advertising within this newspaper’s pages and special sections. Avoid malls and drive time and make a difference in this community. — K.E.C.