Get some(things) on Small Business Saturday

Category:  Community
Saturday, November 29th, 2014 at 9:12 AM
Get some(things) on Small Business Saturday by Ryan Smith

I'm seeing it on signs, in headlines, all over the place this morning: "Buy Local or Bye Local."

Catchy, that, and true.

And good reason, too, to get up, get out and get some things that are different, some things only to be found outside the looong, scary shadows cast by all those big boxes on Black Friday. That's the point of Small Business Saturday, a new-ish annual thing designed to shine a light directing (still-rabid) holiday shoppers ' crazed gazes back to the little mom-and-pop stops, shops and restaurants that help, in lots of ways (and way more than any chain store, ever), to color, shape and define what our communities are all about.

Launched for the first time just a few years back, Small Business Saturday is anchored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and comes at us with the public relations heft of American Express and the National Restaurant Association, so there's been plenty of advertising, handy facts and figures about why we should all get on board, and free promotional materials and other resources designed to help small business owners get the word out.

According to the SBA, consumers nationwide spent an estimated $5.7 billion dollars at small businesses in 2013. Those same small businesses have created two out of three new private sector jobs -- 10.3 milllion in about the last five years -- says the SBA.

Sure, numbers like that are good to know. But to find out for yourself what Small Business Saturday is about, just go to some of the spots around town. There's tons of great places (and great people), and you might well be amazed at what you find if you take some time and money away from the big-bargain safari.

It's definitely worth it, any day of the week.

Writer/photographer Ryan Smith is far, far away from any big boxes this weekend. He can be reached at rsmith@eriereader.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @RyanSmithPlens.

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