THOMPSON: Small business Saturday 

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Black Friday may be the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but I think it pales to the day after, Small Business Saturday.  

Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that support their communities throughout the year.  

Black Friday is great if you’re looking for cheap TVs and stocking stuffers, but Small Business Saturday is about finding unique merchandise that’s hard to find at chain stores or the mall. And when you shop small, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing directly with the owner of the business, someone with a vested interest in turning you into a regular customer.  

What I like best about Small Business Saturday is that it’s a chance to support the local stores and restaurants that keep North Carolina’s economy running. Big corporations get most of the attention, but small businesses account for over 99% of all businesses in the state, and small businesses employ about 44% of North Carolina’s workforce.  

And while the chain stores are owned by companies based someplace else, most small businesses are owned by and employ our friends and neighbors. These businesses sponsor our kids’ sports teams, give to local charities, and keep the local economy healthy and strong.  

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as part of a marketing campaign to support independent shops and restaurants recovering from the Great Recession, but it’s no gimmick. Americans spent an estimated $17.9 million last Small Business Saturday. And 72 percent of those surveyed planned to shop small throughout the holiday season. 

Shopping small also makes our communities strong. Sixty-seven cents of every dollar spent at a small business remains in the community. What’s more, every dollar spent at a small business creates another 50 cents in local business activity because of employee spending and purchases to keep the business up and running.  

This year make a difference in your community: Shop local on Small Business Saturday. 

Gregg Thompson is the National Federation of Independent Business’ state director for North Carolina.