This Saturday is 'Small Business Saturday'. It is a day, dubbed since 2010, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to encourage shoppers to spend their holiday money at local mom-and-pop stores.
"We make sure we hit these special shops because we can find things that are very unique" Jessica Drear Ragsdrill, a customer at Lewis Gifts, says. Turns out, hitting local shops not only diversifies your packages under the tree, it can boost our local economy.
"We have the choice to support the community the way we want to. We have a lot of organizations that we support throughout the year. We work with the people and take care of what they need that year" Christina Hobbs, Lewis Gifts owner, says. When you spend money locally, it stays in the local economy.
Lewis Gifts is a local business that has been selling to, and donating to the local economy for more than 4 generations. "We do a lot with SRAC with the Christmas in the Sky every other year. We donate merchandise, shopping sprees, and the money goes back to the arts community" Hobbs says.
According to the director of the Nonprofit Nonpartisan National Federation of Independent Business, more than 9 in 10 small-business owners nationally give back to their communities in some way. "We're the ones that help support people like the arts community, people like SRAC. You know you can't to Wal-Mart and ask for a donation for a local organization" Hobbs says.
Local businesses also hire local employees. "We can offer benefits, specialized benefits that are catered to that employee not a blanket benefit package" Hobbs says.
"We want to keep the small businesses going. I think that especially now with the economy that we need more of the community helping the community. That's what it used to be about, where the community would help those in need" Ragsdrill says.
This year's spending is expected to rival last year's. The Federal Small Business Administration estimates that nearly 70 million customers spent $5.5 billion in the U.S. last year at small, independent stores during the event. "I think it keeps the money here in the local community and small local businesses I think tend to donate more to the organizations in the Shreveport area" Hobbs says.
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