When Small Business Saturday started in 2010, it partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This made a whole lot of sense; as NTHP President Stephanie Meeks said at the time:
When we invest in small businesses, we are investing in Main Streets - the places that give our towns and cities a unique sense of place. By celebrating Small Business Saturday and shopping at independent businesses, everyone can play a part in strengthening our economy and supporting revitalization on our Main Streets.
Since then, it has become more and more clear that the best tool for greening our lives is Urbanity- building communities that you can get around in without a car. Where you can get what you need within walking or biking distance.
That's where small businesses come in to play. They are local, they support the community, and they make our main streets come alive. More importantly, much of the money you spend in the community stays in the community; One study in Michigan showed:
When West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stays in the community. By contrast, only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remains in the community.
There are so many reasons for that; the buildings are often locally owned instead of by some distant big developer; the real estate and sales taxes stay in the community; the wages paid to staff are often higher; the staff are local too and spend their money in the community. Michael Shuman has written:
Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.
So forget Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday. Hop on your bike and support Small Business Saturday.