Support small businesses

Published 8:44 pm Friday, November 26, 2010

Between the madness of Black Friday and the relative calm of Cyber Monday comes a day this year that is arguably far more important — Small Business Saturday.

This is the day when shoppers are encouraged to forgo the malls and big-box retailers and head to small businesses when looking for gifts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, shoppers dropped more than $27.4 billion at the nation’s department stores in December 2009. Imagine the difference that could have been made in local economies if even $1 billion of that had been spent at small businesses.

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According to a statement issued Friday by Gov. Bob McDonnell, small businesses make up 98 percent of all businesses in the state and account for 75 percent of new job growth.

From the numbers, it’s clear that supporting small businesses makes an irreplaceable contribution to the health of our local economy and to the city’s tax base.

Suffolk is particularly fortunate, because it has a number of shops that sell eclectic, hard-to-find and one-of-a-kind items that are sure to make the perfect gift for someone on your list. From furniture to trinkets and from art to hand-made clothing, you can find it all at Suffolk small businesses — and don’t forget that many local eateries are offering gift certificates for the culinary connoisseurs on your list.

Many people would likely appreciate a unique piece of artwork from one of Suffolk’s several art galleries more than they would appreciate receiving the same sweater that thousands of others received.

“The national ‘Small Business Saturday’ movement is an excellent way for all of us to contribute to our local economies by patronizing local stores, restaurants and service providers,” McDonnell said. “So while we’re out shopping this weekend, and during the weeks to come, we should all remember to think local and support Virginia’s local businesses.”

We agree with McDonnell. Get out there today and show your support for Suffolk’s small businesses while you’re Christmas shopping. We think you’ll like what you find.