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Let's Make It "Small Business Everyday"

What seems like a lifetime ago, I was proud to manage my family's fine jewelry store. We were still alive and kicking when Small Business Saturday was implemented in 2010 for holiday shoppers to give support to their local retailers as a counterbalance to Black Friday. I loved this idea...still do...and in fact, even though I visited family out of town over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I did "shop small" this past Saturday and felt good about it.


Last week, I was reminded of a social media post I shared 10 years ago. which went something like "Long before there was even a need for an Occupy Wall Street movement, there were mom and pop stores in every town across America. While the challenge to stay alive is a reality for most of us independent retailers, why wait until Small Business Saturday to patronize your local merchants. Start a new Black Friday tradition right now!"


I must confess, I'm as guilty as anyone else ordering something from a big box retailer online before even considering whether or not the item might be available locally. I love the convenience and more often than not, the item is less expensive than if I searched for it elsewhere. But lately, I've started thinking differently about shopping in general. I'm remembering how my dad felt when customers started buying jewelry elsewhere...first at big discount retailers, then on television home shopping networks and ultimately from various websites. These practices made it difficult to stay in business, yet he persevered because he believed in the products he sold and knew his best customers would still buy from him. But not every small town retailer can stay afloat in these uncertain times, and if my dad were still alive, I'm pretty sure that he would not be happy with the way we shop today.


While I may no longer operate a retail store, I am now a self-published author with a book to sell. And I am grateful that it is easy to go online and purchase my book from Barnes and Noble or Amazon. But today is Cyber Monday and I have one more suggestion for those of you who love to buy books online. If you go to IndieBound.org, you can enter your zip code to get a list of independent bookstores within a 100 mile radius. You can even search for books on their site and purchase them through BookShop.org who supports the independent book sellers of this world. I searched for my book, Written in the Stars: Poems and Pictures and found it on BookShop.org at a discount price!


Soon I hope to be able to sell my book in independent bookstores and other local gift shops, but in the meantime, shopping via sites like IndieBound.org and BookShop.org will still support independent book sellers. And whether we are shopping now for holiday gifts or at any time of the year, I strongly suggest we adopt the mindset of Small Business Everyday and support our local merchants.

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