By ANNIE SPILMAN
I’m thankful for small business. It’s what keeps our economy humming. Small businesses account for over 99 percent of all employers in the state, and they employ about 45 percent of the Texas workforce — over 4.7 million workers in Texas alone.
That’s why I always look forward to Small Business Saturday. It’s a chance to thank the entrepreneurs who help our communities throughout the year.
Small Business Saturday -- always the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday -- began 10 years ago to focus attention on the independent shops and restaurants hit hardest by the Great Recession.
Since then, it has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Holiday shoppers spent a record $17.8 billion last year on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express and NFIB, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization. To put that in perspective, people spent only $7.9 billion online two days later on Cyber Monday.
American Express and NFIB estimate that 104 million Americans shopped small last year on Small Business Saturday. In many cases, it was their chance to interact directly with the small business owner, the person who sponsors their local Boy Scout troop or cheer squad.
And it isn’t just brick-and-mortar businesses that are benefitting from all this. Among shoppers who reported participating in last year’s Small Business Saturday, about 41 percent said they shopped small online, too.
Most encouraging, 96 percent of shoppers surveyed last year said Small Business Saturday makes them want to shop small the rest of the year, too. What began 10 years ago as a marketing campaign to help small businesses get through tough economic times has become a movement.
Something else to consider: When we shop at chain stores, the profits go someplace else. When we #ShopSmall, 67 cents of every dollar remains in the local community, according to a study by American Express. 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.
Small businesses make a difference. They’re owned by and employ our families, friends, and neighbors. They do a lot throughout the year to keep our communities healthy, from creating jobs to supporting local charities and civic groups.
I know it’s hard to resist the post-Thanksgiving doorbusters and discounts at the chain stores, but I hope you’ll shop small on Saturday, Nov. 30. Small business is the heart of Texas’s economy. When we help small business, we help everyone.
Annie Spilman is NFIB’s state director for Texas. She lives in Austin.