Reporter: Ellie Mahan
November 24, 2021
Since 2010, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been known as Small Business Saturday. The annual event encourages people to kick off the holiday shopping season by supporting stores in their own community. In honor of Small Business Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. November 27, representatives from the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce will be in downtown Whitney giving out donuts, orange juice and bags.
According to Janice Sanders, Executive Director of Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce, “Blue Santa” will make an appearance in downtown Whitney on Saturday. Some businesses will also have discounts or specials for the occasion. Sanders said, “It’s going to be a fun day downtown.”
The Grinch will also be in attendance at Small Business Saturday, and he plans to be a troublemaker in the businesses. However, rumor has it The Grinch’s heart has grown three sizes, and he may bring apology notes to customers, complete with a store promotion or a quote from “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” There will be photo opportunities with The Grinch, and he will be wandering all over town, including near Whitney’s historic bench marking The Battle Of The Benches. For this reason, members of the Whitney Business Alliance are calling his appearance “Grinch On The Bench.”
American Express created Small Business Saturday during the recession in 2010, stating that small businesses are at the core of every thriving neighborhood. Shopping locally can support neighbors, build community and help create demand for local jobs. Additionally, shopping at a local business keeps your money in the community. For every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents stays in the local community, with 44 cents going to the small business owner and employees’ wages and benefits and 23 cents being reinvested in other local businesses.
When shopping locally, sales taxes go toward necessary city funds, such as infrastructure, fire and police protection and street repairs. Shopping locally can also be more convenient, and it can reduce your carbon footprint since drive time will be reduced. Furthermore, small business owners often have more product knowledge and expertise to share than larger retailers since they have a more specific focus area.
Sanders said, “As small as Whitney is, I think that one of the benefits of [shopping locally] is getting to meet people that you don’t normally get to meet. Taxes are important for the community, your roads, your lights, your fire, but sometimes friendships are just as important.”
She said that Small Business Saturday is crucial because it brings awareness to what local businesses have to offer the community. This Small Business Saturday is also a day to appreciate the resilience that the business owners demonstrated by staying afloat throughout the pandemic.
“Our small businesses have absolutely faced challenges, but they’ve overcome. They’ve adapted with employees. They’ve adapted with payroll. They’ve adapted with their hours of operation, their days of operation, and they took it one day at a time. None of our businesses were closed down because of COVID for the last year and a half,” Sanders said.
There are almost 270 members of the Chamber of Commerce, and Sanders said that she was impressed by the number of people who have renewed their membership and kept their businesses open throughout the pandemic. She also said she believes that the Whitney Business Alliance will be beneficial to our town by providing mentorship for businesses that are just starting out and by being a resource for people who want to start their own business but don’t know where to start.
Come support local shop and restaurant owners by participating in this year’s Small Business Saturday.