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When it comes to holiday shopping this year, why not think small?
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Thats the idea behind Small Business Saturday, a day set aside to recognize and support our local small businesses.

This years Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 26, the day after Black Friday, which is one of the biggest retail days of the year for shopping malls and large businesses, and Cyber Monday, which benefits online retailers.

Small Business Saturday was conceived as a way to bring attention to the true pillars of our local economy, small business owners and their employees.

According to the Small Business Administration, over the past decade small businesses have accounted for 60-80 percent of all new jobs. It has been estimated that for every $100 spent in locally-owned retail stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

Our local small businesses deserve your support and patronage. Not only because they create jobs and boost the local economy, but because shopping at a small retailer can be a delightful and rewarding experience. The merchandise selection is often unique and unlike what your are likely to find in the larger retail chain stores. The atmosphere is often more intimate, and shoppers are often dealing directly with the business owner instead of an anonymous store clerk.

Small Business Saturday was an idea conceived by American Express, the credit card company, as a way to help persuade consumers to spend a portion of their holiday shopping budget with local merchants. Last year, the event caught on quickly. Amex reported a 28 percent increase in sales from the previous year at small businesses that accept American Express.

A 28 percent increase for our local small businesses would be a tremendous boost for our local economy.

Despite its corporate origin, Small Business Saturday is truly beneficial for the entire community. This year, more than 200 organizations have signed on as sponsors nationwide, and 1.5 million people have befriended Small Business Saturdays Facebook page.

We encourage you to participate as well.

When you shop locally, youre not only going to receive top-notch goods and services, you are also making an investment in our community.