Among things I’m loathe to do, you can typically include “hype an event sponsored by a credit card company.” That said, the concept of Small Business Saturday deserves recognition, appreciation and support in your local community.
Small Business Saturday started a mere six years ago in Roslingdale Village, Massachusetts, as a response to the spectacle of Black Friday. Since, it has been adopted across the country as a way to help local businesses compete with the large chains that use the hours after Thanksgiving to don their seasonal high-volume/low-margin hats and drink everyone else’s milkshakes.
NonDoc, of course, is a small business that offers a perspective we journalists often fail to gain from our required collegiate course-loads: Socialism 1001, The Liberal Agenda 2320 and How To Shoot Whiskey Like A Goddamned Pro 4500, graduate seminar.
As such, I recognize now more than ever the challenges facing small businesses who compete with enormous companies. While my personal consumer footprint extends barely beyond the materials required for my Journalism 4500 grad seminar, I’ve become more cognizant of the positive effects that even a single consumer can have on his or her local businesses.
So shop Small Business Saturday to support local entrepreneurs.
Of bakers, brewers, blackouts and boycotts
As always, attempts to get any sort of message out to the masses can be tricky, especially when dozens of the country’s largest retailers are advertising for the exact opposite cause.
The National Federation of Independent Business represents 3,500 small businesses in Oklahoma and 350,000 across the country. Recently, the NFIB’s local lobbyist, Jerrod Shouse, authored an op-ed in the Edmond Sun that compared Small Business Saturday to its older and bigger brother, Black Friday:
Small Business Saturday offers a much different experience. Shoppers who visit locally-owned businesses will find almost everything they could get at the mall and plenty of items by local artisans, designers, bakers, chocolatiers, brewers, and tinkerers that can be found only on Main Street. In terms of service, Americans who “shop small” likely will be dealing directly with owners who know that happy customers usually come back.
Meanwhile, the controversial socio-religious leader Louis Farrakhan renewed his call in 2016 for African Americans to #BlackoutBlackFriday. The hashtag and its message were not unique to Farrakhan, and social media has also filled with pleas to support #BlackBusiness this weekend.
In September, NonDoc reported on the New Black Wall Street Marketplace in northeast Oklahoma City and its fight for better black economics.
That fight, in many ways, is carried out on weekends like this and without regard to race in particular. All communities feature small businesses, and all communities must support those businesses lest they be dealt death blows by high insurance costs, Secretary of State fees, taxes or road construction.
As for anything specific going on this year, this contest from Insight Creative Group has crossed our desks. One lucky local business will win a free revamping of its brand from an experienced creative agency.
But as you venture out of the house this Small Business Saturday, you should be able to spot local retailers, shops and businessfolk for yourself.
More often than not, they’ll be the ones most appreciative of your support.