Small Business Saturday offers chance to support community

Published 7:16 pm Thursday, November 22, 2018

And they’re off!

Shoppers and retailers across the United States will mark the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping tomorrow morning with Black Friday door-buster sales and early-morning bargains.

Historically, the weekend after Thanksgiving has been one of the busiest for businesses, both big and small. Over the years, however, Black Friday weekend has changed with the times. The rise of online shopping gave us Cyber Monday, an increased focus on charity gave us Giving Tuesday, and a push for shopping local gave us Small Business Saturday.

The net result of this huge shopping weekend is a lot of money changing hands in a very short period of time. If there’s one message from area chambers of commerce, it’s to shop in a way that keeps your money in Beaufort County.

“A lot of our local businesses talk about how great Small Business Saturday is,” Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Catherine Glover said. “They say that both days are busy for them, but there seems to be a special feeling in the air on Small Business Saturday. It just reminds people how important small businesses are.”

Independently-owned businesses in Washington, Belhaven and Beaufort County as a whole will see considerable traffic this weekend.

“There are small businesses in every community in our county,” Glover said. “When we say to shop small or shop local, were encouraging people to stay in the county. There are unique shops in every one of our municipalities. There’s always a unique gift somewhere.”

With some having taken damage during Hurricane Florence, this year’s shopping season will be crucial to helping businesses recover financially.

“We just encourage people to shop local,” Belhaven Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Diana Lambeth said. “All of our stores are back open after the hurricane, and that’s something that should really be stressed — we are survivors, and we are back open.”

The economic impact of shopping locally doesn’t just ensure a thriving and diverse business community. It also puts dollars into the hands of local merchants and employees — dollars that will be spent in Beaufort County instead of ending up in some corporate headquarters.

“It’s making a decision that ‘I’m going to shop local,’” Glover said. “Those businesses made a decision that they’re going to open in your community. They can’t be successful if the people who live here don’t support them. They’ve made a huge investment to be here. Those are the people who employ your friends, neighbors and families. They’re the ones that support your local nonprofits and sponsor your baseball and soccer teams. They’re the ones that are giving back to the community.”