Posted: November 17, 2014 2:58 pm
Small Business Saturday is November 29th.
Most of us recognize the first Tuesday in November as Election Day, but there’s another day in November when you asked to vote on the future of your community and its economy.
It’s the fourth Friday, commonly called “Black Friday,” a day when hundreds of thousands of Erie area residents vote with their feet, their dollars and their credit cards by making millions of dollars of purchases.
Many of these purchases will be made at the local locations of regional or national retailers, at shopping malls and big box stores. Increasingly, too, people are voting with their computers and buying from retailers via the internet.
Choice is good, especially in consumer matters, and more choices often mean more freedom for persons looking to purchase everything from Christmas candy to a new car. An informed consumer is also an empowered consumer.
But lost in the media blitz about holiday shopping is a choice that many consumers are making: shopping at locally owned small businesses in downtown Erie. It’s a movement that’s gaining momentum thanks to a program called Small Business Saturday.
It’s a choice that thoughtful consumers are making based not only on the common dimensions of price, value, style, durability and design, but also along the equally important dimensions of community empowerment and economic progress.
A key to this concept is the health of downtown shopping districts. Small businesses are the backbone of many local economies, creating jobs and a sense of place, continuity and history in a community.
Generations of Erieites have made downtown the destination for holiday shopping. There is history in these storefronts, and tradition, too. That tradition involves gathering at downtown landmarks, warming the body with a hot coffee in the company of family and friends, and warming the soul with the knowledge that your parents and grandparents did the same thing, perhaps in the same places.
This year, you’ll find these places by the posters, balloons and other items that the Erie Downtown Partnership has provided to raise awareness of local small businesses.
The dollar that you spend at a locally owned retailer may buy you more than just the holiday gift that you brought to the register. It may buy the sponsorship for the soccer team that your child may join next summer. It may go to pay the salary of the combat veteran who, newly returned to Erie, needed a job—and found one, or the one-of-a-kind, artisan-made item you buy might directly support a local craftsman.
If you live and work in the area, it just may go to buy goods and services from the place where you work, helping to pay your salary, too.
So before you present that credit card—better yet, before you even head out this Saturday morning to begin your holiday shopping, think for a moment that you are going to the polls to cast your vote.
Vote your conscience. Vote for your interests and those of the community where you and your family live, work, spend and enjoy life.
And make sure you vote to get the full measure of value that your dollar can buy.