Shop small on Saturday

Published 10:31 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Friday is the big day for Christmas shopping around the country, but Saturday could be the day where you can make the biggest difference for your community.

Even as folks are digesting their big Thanksgiving meals on Thursday, Black Friday sales will be kicking off at retailers around the nation. There will be lines for the best deals, and it seems that no Black Friday would be complete any more without video of shoppers acting like beasts at some Walmart or other big-box retailer selling flat-screen televisions for next to nothing.

But the Saturday following Thanksgiving has, in recent years, become a time when small retailers take the spotlight, and their sales have a far greater positive influence on the local economy than those of their mega-corporate competitors in sterile, warehouse-sized buildings lacking any semblance of unique character.

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Small Business Saturday, which started in 2016, is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.

In 2011, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were 28.2 million small businesses, and between 1993 and 2013, small businesses created 14.9 million net new jobs in the nation.

And, unlike much of the money that’s spent at big-box retailers, dollars spent at small businesses tend to stay in the community, which helps lift the quality of life for everyone in that community.

Two different events in Suffolk on Saturday will celebrate small businesses and seek to encourage folks to shop with them.

Christmas in Driver, sponsored by the Driver Merchants Association, with help from the Driver Volunteer Fire Department, will give visitors a chance to experience a small-town Christmas celebration. Santa will arrive on a fire truck, businesses will be decked out in their holiday finery and there will be activities for kids of all ages.

And in the downtown area, the popular (Re)Stored event, sponsored by the city’s economic development department, will see some of the vacant spaces downtown occupied by aspiring storekeepers who are setting up shop for free.

Businesses will be set up on the first floor of the Professional Building, at the Oasis Lounge and in a tent that will be placed adjacent to the Professional Building. There will also be vendors lined up along North Main and Washington streets.

There will be complimentary coffee and refreshments, live entertainment and Santa visits.

So wait in line for the television on Friday if you really feel that you can’t miss the deal. But set aside some time on Saturday to find something truly different, something that can truly benefit the giver, the recipient and the community.