With the Thanksgiving holiday now officially behind us as well as Black Friday, this weekend started the beginning of the American tradition of the Christmas shopping season. Shoppers will spend over $700 billion in the 2018 holiday season … $2 billion just on Christmas trees alone. As a former retailer (anyone out there remember Rike’s?), I know well the importance of the season to the success and profitability of retailers nationwide, including and especially our own local retailers.
However, my pitch to us all is to ask that you not forget our local retailers. They have major local investments in people, brick and mortar and in supporting local taxes and our economy. Each and every local business, whether small corner stores or the mega big-box mall retailers, all play a very important role in our community’s success.
Let me also remind you of a few statistics about our local small businesses who just kicked off their season this weekend, too, with Small Business Saturday on November 24. This annual event, originally developed by American Express in 2010, has continued to grow and focus more attention on our local businesses who live in a very competitive business world. Now I have nothing against those who have strategically expanded their market footprint through the internet. Many retailers, if not most, have. However, don’t forget the impact of those local merchants who typically view their businesses as more than just their livelihoods, but as an extension to their families and ways of life.
Let me share just a few statistics that might encourage more of your holiday spend to stay local, including at small businesses.
We know and trust our local business owners and managers. A recent national survey showed how strong that trust is whereas 44% of respondents said that they would rather have a small business owner in an elected position than from any other category.
I share all of this with you because of my love and admiration for local business owners. Those men and women are the “salt of the earth” as far as I’m concerned. They risk everything … almost every day to keep their personal dreams alive and employ our community. The least we can do is acknowledge their work … their dreams and aspirations … by supporting them year around and especially supporting them this time of year.
So here is my ask. Next time you go to click that “submit” button on your keyboard, ask yourselves these questions. Is this also a local business? Does this company have a local impact of hiring your neighbors or your children? Does it support our local economy and our not-for-profits? Is the owner a friend or a neighbor?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then how about directing a little bit more of your money locally. If you will set a goal to spend just 10% more locally, then maybe we can move that small-business number from 35% to 45% and make everyone’s holiday a lot more special.
Thank you; and may your God watch over our country and each of us in this season of giving and sharing.
Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President and CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce