Small Business Saturday, during which shoppers are encouraged to patronize local independent businesses, is Saturday, Nov. 24. (American Express)

Small Business Saturday, during which shoppers are encouraged to patronize local independent businesses, is Saturday, Nov. 24. (American Express)

Editorial: Shop Small and support local businesses

Small Business Saturday, along with helping with gift shopping, supports local shops and downtowns.

By The Herald Editorial Board

A gift bought during Small Business Saturday, marked tomorrow at small independent businesses throughout Snohomish County, is a gift that keeps on giving through its support for local businesses and the communities where they’re located.

Small Business Saturday, now in its ninth year nationwide, encourages shoppers to make at least some of their holiday gift and other purchases in their own local communities at independently owned small businesses, rather than at large chain stores or through online retailers.

Stores throughout the county, including in Bothell, Edmonds, Everett, Mill Creek, Marysville and Snohomish, are participating in the annual event organized by American Express.

Among the shops and downtowns worth checking out:

Bothell’s Country Village, 23718 Bothell-Everett Highway, and its shops are offering a drawing for a $300 gift basket. Every $10 or more purchase earns a stamp that increases the odds of winning.

Everett’s Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Avenue, offers locally made artworks, glassworks, pottery, jewelry and more, with a 10 percent discount on Saturday. Everett Makers Market, 1618 Hewitt, will be open from noon to 6 p.m. with more locally made gifts.

Marysville’s Sunnyside Nursery, 3915 Sunnyside Boulevard, offers its Holiday Kick-Off Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with wreath-making demonstrations , other decorating tips and a raffle. Also, the Marysville Merchants Association begins its Elf of the Shelf scavenger hunt.

The Shop Small campaign has had success in recent years. Although sales figures last year were down slightly from 2016, Small Business Saturday still drew 108 million shoppers to independent stores and generated $12.9 billion in sales. That compares favorably with the $19.62 billion that was spent online over last year’s four-day buying blitz from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

Along with finding the perfect gift and enjoying some holiday cheer, Small Business Saturday has other benefits.

By spending money in your community — rather than on your phone or a computer at home or work — more of the money you spend stays in your community.

For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, about $67 stays in your community. Of that, $44 goes to pay the wages of employees and business owners, while $23 is reinvested in other local businesses, a 2018 small business economic survey commissioned by American Express found.

An earlier study found that, spent in a national chain store, about $43 of that $100 stays in the community.

You can guess how much of that $100 stays in the local community when you shop online.

Combined, U.S. small businesses are responsible for $4.8 billion of the country’s gross domestic product, equivalent to the third largest economy in the world, the American Express survey found found.

There are other benefits to doing your spending at home:

It helps supports local jobs, which, in turn creates demand for other jobs, including teachers, first responders, medical professionals, construction workers and more.

It’s better for the environment because many of the items you buy are produced closer to you and require less fuel for transportation.

It helps generate sales tax revenue that supports services in your community.

And, unlike shopping on a phone or computer, shopping at local businesses is something that can be done with family and friends.

A survey last year taken as part of last year’s Small Business Saturday found that 73 percent of those who “shopped small” at independently owned businesses and restaurants did so with friends and family. In Washington state, 54 percent shopped with family and 26 precent shopped with friends.

You can shop online — and in your pajamas — anytime. Small Business Saturday is an enjoyable way to connect with and support your community and its small businesses.

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