How is it possible that Thanksgiving week is here? My Halloween pumpkins are still rotting on the porch for crying out loud! I likely even have a decoration or two from last Christmas hiding on a shelf somewhere in the house.
In our first staff meeting of the New Year last January, I recall my opening statement as, “Have you started your shopping yet? There are only 345 days until Christmas!” It was met with some laughter but mostly groans and comments like, “Seriously?” and “Ugh!” and “How depressing.” I opened a staff meeting some time in July with a similar reminder and got comparable feedback from the team.
Last week, it wasn’t me who brought it up. We were in the throes of analyzing some current campaign strategies when, suddenly, someone really noticed the calendar. “Wait,” Wendy said. “Thanksgiving is next week?”
Veronica chimed in. “I made fun of Kim all year for counting shopping days left ‘till Christmas. Now I wish I would have listened!”
I wish I could sit back and cross my arms in smug satisfaction. The truth is, I didn’t heed my advice any more than they did.
I love Thanksgiving. I love turkey, parades, pumpkin pie and family time. I’m not a Black Friday kind-of-girl, so I sleep in the day after too. And I’m really thankful. At the same time that I am resting, relaxing and being thankful, though, I am aware of the start bell sounding off in most of our heads before the big dinner has had time to settle. It is the official kick-off to the holiday season, and like it or not, that means our days are numbered. At least our shopping days, that is.
Since shopping is not my forte or my passion, I try to find a motivating focus each year that adds a level of personal mission or fun to what is otherwise a daunting chore. This year, my theme is small.
Did you know that according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 60 cents of every dollar spent in a small business stays right here in our local community? Small business means sole proprietors, often referred to as mom-and-pop businesses.
“Small business people are local,” says Julie Glover, Downtown Development Officer for the City of Denton Economic Development Office. “Most of the money they make here, they also spend here. They pay bills, buy groceries, maintain a home, shop and live. Even in their business transactions, they are more apt than not to hire local as well as purchase goods and services from fellow local businesses.”
The truth of the matter is that to me, spending money is not fun. It’s just a fact of life that must be done. But when put in the context of Julie’s explanation, I am inspired to shop purposefully and be significant to actual people, my friends and neighbors, and their livelihoods by doing so.
This is the crux of Small Business Saturday, coming up this Saturday, November 28. American Express founded the concept in 2010 to be an annual Saturday-after-Thanksgiving standing event. While Denton was quick to jump on board to celebrate small and local business in the beginning, this year the campaign has double the muscle behind it. The Denton Chamber of Commerce and the City of Denton Economic Development Office joined forces to identify neighborhood champion retail businesses across the city. Together, these neighborhood champions, the Chamber and the City are encouraging holiday shoppers to think local and think small. Then beyond our purchases, hashtag a selfie #ShopSmallDenton to show our support for small business.
Angelica del Rosal is Director of Membership and Programs at the Denton Chamber of Commerce. “#DentonMeansBusiness is our Chamber’s social media hashtag,” she explains. “Partnering with the City Economic Development Department to promote the Shop Small campaign makes sense. It’s all about helping Denton’s economy, and that’s what the Chamber does.”
Angelica is right. It does make sense. And it makes cents. Regardless of the impetus behind the American Express idea, Small Business Saturday yielded an estimated $14.3 billion spent in local, independent businesses in 2014. Based on the SBA statistic cited above, that equates to more than $8.5 billion that stayed in communities where the dollars were spent, then to be spent again and spent again as small and local trade with small and local businesses. It is a strong and healthy circle.
We’ve all heard it: “America was built on the back of small business.” This Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful to those backs and to all the backs yet to come.
I am #ShopSmallDenton. Happy Thanksgiving!
NOTE: Mean Green Game Day is also this Saturday the 28th. Green up in game day gear, and keep your eyes peeled for final home game specials