As if we haven't heard enough about Black Friday this fall we will now get to hear about it every five minutes this week. The funny thing is, we seem to have Black Friday type deals going on all year long. By the time Friday rolls around, people have already blown a wad of money.
The curious thing to me is that every single day my email inbox is filled with deals, discounts and coupons. 40% off here, 25% off there. $10 off $30 at this place; and discount websites offering up to 70% off everyday. In my regular mailbox I have been receiving coupon after coupon for this store and that store. People start Christmas shopping months before December, so why is Black Friday so special?
Offers of even deeper discounts, crazy middle of the night door buster deals and now even shopping on Thanksgiving. What is this teaching our society? How does this fare for small business owners who don't have the backing of a large corporation behind them? Those small businesses that put food on their families tables? That help the economy of your own hometowns?
I owned a small business for a number of years. A women's boutique. I did not ever want to be known as a discount store; I did not want to be the place to always buy on sale. I loved my full price sales, it's the only way I was able to make money and pay my bills. And for a time, I loved that place and all it represented. It was like the American dream. As it is for all the other small business owners across the country.
So, when Black Friday rolls around how do they compete? I never did any real business on that day. People were flocking to their door buster sales and the "biggest discount ever" big box stores. And they'll do it again this year.
So what to do? First, check out the Small Business Saturday Facebook Page. See the movement that has 3.2 million fans and is building. And that's just on Facebook. I've been hearing about this movement for awhile and I think it's fantastic. Here's some great reasons to shop Saturday November 30:
1) You can stay home on Thanksgiving and DON'T shop. Show the big stores that your local small stores are what keeps your town going. Plus, show them that families should be together on Thanksgiving and stores should be closed, like the small businesses.
2) Black Friday crowds suck, plain and simple. Why spend hours looking for parking, waiting in long lines and receiving lousy customer service? Many of the employees at the large stores are Christmas help and know nothing about what they're selling. Small business owners know their products and give the best customer service.
3) In 2012, consumers spent a reported $5.5 billion on the Saturday following Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, when individuals and families traditionally flock to the malls to purchase presents from national and international retailers offering door-buster specials. For each dollar spent at a locally owned independent store, 68 cents stays in the community in taxes, payroll and other expenditures, as compared to 43 cents from a national chain. For each dollar spent shopping online, zero cents in local sales tax is generated. (Courtesy Mysuburbanlife.com)
4) There is a lot of hope involved when a person makes the decision to open a small business in your town. They are counting on you, their residents to shop with them. Build that relationship with them. Help them realize their decision was a good one.
5) No one wants to discount everything. You can bet that those deep discounts you are getting at the door buster and Black Friday sales are padded with hidden margins. Those stores are not giving things away. You just think they are. We've been brainwashed to believe that they are doing us a favor. Remember the original reason for the term "Black Friday". That stores were in the red until the day after Thanksgiving. They don't go in the black by giving things away.
6) Your local store owner could be your next door neighbor. They may be paying their mortgage with their profits.
7) Isn't the feel of a small hometown filled with shops and shoppers a great feeling? Remember, our country was founded on small shops and businesses. The corner grocer, the local dress shop. The local candy store. Let's keep up our hometown main street shops and frequent them. Let's not lose everything to the big boxes and corporate conglomerates.
8) Your hometown small businesses are going to be selling things that are unique and different. Not the same old, same old crap that everyone else has. They may be a little pricier, but they will make quite an impact on the recipient. It will feel more special and that's what this holiday shopping is supposed to be about, right?? RIGHT??
So here you have a few good reasons to shop local, other than just because I say so. Let's take some of our money and put it into our own hometowns. I believe the spirit of the season is giving, so why not give to your local shop owners? Come on. Just do it.
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