Big Day for Small Businesses

You might think of small businesses as only mom-and-pop stores, but the definition extends well beyond that.

As Kennesaw State’s Drew Tonsmeire points out, service-based businesses such as your accountant, auto repair shop or gas station are small businesses. Even some businesses with global brands – your nearest McDonald’s, for example – are individual stores owned by local people.

“Local, small business is part of the fabric of a community,” said Tonsmeire, director of KSU’s Small Business Development Center.

“The majority of a community’s workforce is small business, the majority of spending is with small businesses, and support of small business is an indicator of the economic health of a community.”

Drew Tonsmeire, director of KSU’s Small Business Development Center

That’s why the Saturday after Thanksgiving – November 30 this year – is the biggest day for small businesses. Now in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday raises awareness of the importance of locally owned businesses.

Consumers have more opportunities to support small business than they may realize, Tonsmeire explained, since the federal definition of a small business is having fewer than 500 employees. That adds up to more than 30 million independent businesses across the county, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Woman Checking Out at Cash Register

“Most of the places you go to are small businesses, and you just don’t think of it in that way,” Tonsmeire said.

However, an increasing number of shoppers are making a conscious effort to support Small Business Saturday. The 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey found that more than 70 percent of consumers are aware of the initiative, and spending at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday rose to a record high of $17.8 billion last year.

“Small businesses just want to have their day,” Tonsmeire said. “It’s that reminder of ‘don’t forget about the little guys.’”

Sign that Reads "Thank You for Shopping Local"

For some consumers, that means buying a few items to help their neighborhood stores kick off the holiday shopping season. That could be followed by dinner at a local restaurant or coffee at a café. Or, if you don’t know what to buy for someone this holiday season, an option is to purchase a gift card that can be used at a local business.

Regardless of how consumers choose to do it, Tonsmeire noted that supporting Small Business Saturday isn’t a complex process.

“Go shop,” he said. “It’s really that easy.”