NFIB State Director, Dawn McVea

Submitted by Dawn McVea

“I hope people will shop small on Saturday, Nov. 27, and throughout the year. Remember: When we help small businesses, we really do help everyone.”

It’s been a rough couple of years for Mississippi’s small businesses, beginning with the pandemic and with the labor shortage and disruptions in the supply chain.

Despite all that, small business has endured. Despite the challenges and setbacks, local businesses have tried to provide the goods and services their customers need and to support their communities.

So, with the holidays fast approaching, I hope you’ll shop small and shop local.

Every year, it seems like the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. Some stores had reindeer and snowmen on the same aisles as witches and Halloween masks, but things really get underway Thanksgiving week. The Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, and that’s followed the next day by Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 to help local retailers and restaurants hurt by the Great Recession. Since then, it’s become one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Sales figures just for Mississippi aren’t available, but nationwide, people spent about $19.8 billion at independent merchants last November on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express.

But please don’t think of shopping small as a one-day thing. We should support local businesses throughout the holiday season and throughout the year.

Small business is the heart of Mississippi’s economy. By the federal government’s measure, small businesses account for 99.3% of Mississippi’s businesses, and, together, they employ 46.3% of the state’s workforce.

Chain stores are owned by big corporations based someplace else, but small businesses are owned by locals, by our friends and neighbors, and an estimated 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community, according to American Express.

Small businesses are facing the same challenges as the national chains when it comes to labor and inventory. According to a new survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, 82% of owners moderate to significant supply chain issues, while 48% report moderate to significant staffing issues.

What I take away from that survey is that small businesses need our support now more than ever.

Small businesses bind our communities together. Small businesses create jobs, support local schools and charities, and offer a level of service that’s hard to find at the chain stores. When you #ShopSmall, there’s a good chance you’re dealing directly with the owner, someone with a personal stake not only in making you a satisfied customer but also in turning you into a regular. Plus, regardless of whether you shop small in person or order online, you’ll find unique gifts and dishes you won’t get at the chains.

That’s why I hope people will shop small on Saturday, Nov. 27, and throughout the year. Remember: When we help small businesses, we really do help everyone.

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Dawn McVea is the Mississippi director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization.