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While Walmart puts out press releases with statements saying the rallies and protests didn't effect their business on Black Friday, images of protests are all over social media, (great collection of photos and videos here.) Daily Kos and other blogs are full of posts about Walmart workers whose full-time paychecks make them eligible for government subsidies and how Walmart's profits put the Walton family close to the top of our country's top 1%.

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Yes, Black Friday protests and rallies included people who didn't work for Walmart, many Walmart workers were justifiably afraid of losing their jobs. But the real success is that news of Walmart's poor treatment of their employees is spreading and might effect their bottom line in the future and will hopefully put pressure on the corporate officers to consider improving the lives of their loyal employees.  

In the mean time, with help from American Express, the idea of supporting small businesses has taken off and hopefully will permanently plant "Small Business Saturday" right in between "Black Friday" and Cyber Monday.

small-business-saturday2Walmart may offer low prices, but your local merchants give you personal service,  employ your neighbors, buy houses in your neighborhoods, send their children to your schools, sponsor local sports teams and pay local taxes. They are the lifeblood of our local communities and as the huge box stores pop up in your area, their businesses suffer.

I like to give gift certificates to local stores. This gets my family and friends into the stores to themselves. After Christmas stores here on Cape Cod see their slowest months and getting customers to jingle that bell on the front door is important.

The website Sustainable Solutions offers the following reasons you should shop your local businesses:

Why Buy Locally Owned?

There are many well-documented benefits to our communities and to each of us to choosing local, independently owned businesses. We realize it is not always possible to buy what you need locally and so merely ask you to Think Local FIRST!
Top Ten reasons to Think Local - Buy Local - Be Local

    Buy Local -- Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.(Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies; these include case studies showing that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.)
    Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
    Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit.  “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
    Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
    Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
    Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
    Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
    Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
    Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
    Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!

Your holiday shopping dollar will mean so much more locally than dropped into the Walmart profit margin.  

Small-Business-Saturday

This image was shared on Facebook; it seemed so appropriate as we discuss the whole concept of big retailers who will do anything for your business, and those of us who fall under their spell. It is all about tunnel vision and the need to be reminded of the whole picture.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

    by 51percent on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:16:05 AM PST

  •  American Express should be praised (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    51percent, ichibon, nicolemm

    But really, EVERY day should be small business Saturday, if we're really serious about thinking local first.  How many small merchants do you drive by on your way to Target and Macy's, for example.

    Yes, maybe the small business will charge more, and yes, consider how many local people that Target and that Macy's probably employ.  You like the local bookstore or wine store or butcher or craft store or boutique you're intentionally shopping in today? Make it part of your regular shopping rotation. If you don't, what's the point?

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 06:25:01 AM PST

    •  We don't charge more ... (4+ / 0-)

      This reply is not personally directed at the parent author...

      As the owner of a retail store, I think it is common folklore that small/local stores charge more. We do not. If I can't price a product competitively, I don't carry it. We often special order products for regulars that they could get cheaper at a big box, and while I appreciate their business, I don't expect it.

      Unfortunately the State threatens me with imprisonment if I don't collect sales tax, while giving Amzn a nod and a wink. So that gives Amzn a 9.7% pricing advantage ... But that is a whole different story...

      Happy holidays everyone.

      A mind like a book, has to be open to function properly.

      by falconer520 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 11:44:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  First I would Like to Dispel Higher Price (6+ / 0-)

      I own a Small Business it is a Music Store we sell musical instruments and accessories. It was the only local source for Band and Orchestra rental and supplies that the school district required for the communities children. I have spent a tremendous amount of advertising dollars with the school district. I did not do it only for my business but because my son was a product of the local school systems music program. We as a family decided to take one of the worst eyesores in the community located in the very heart and original section of this small town in Texas and build a beautiful brand new building that fit into the areas old town look. It did make the investment much more expensive than just being in a strip mall where you see the big box retailers. But we received much praise during the development of this project and into the first year of business from the community. Which was gratefully received from me and my family. We felt good that we were making a difference that even though it took alot of our savings and retirement funds and by the way an unbelievable amount of work it was going to be all worth it.
       Now for the business model we did use as much of what people came to expect in a big box retailer as we could possible afford. Size, Pricing and available inventory not an easy task when your not publically traded. But we wanted to do it with a home town and personal service feel to it. And we had great success the first year much of the community supported and appreciated what we had done by beautifying the area and offering these products at the same price if not better pricing than  the closest big box retailer Guitar Center. I took the time to work at Guitar Center far off in the town of Austin Tx to make sure to do my due diligence and get a good feel for how they did business and try my best to anticipate there possible expansion into my little town near by. I found that they had no intention of moving in to my town because they were being loaded up with debt by Bain Capital. So I quit and felt safe to start my little American Dream and not worry that they would move in and  destroy my hopes and dreams. But they eventually did and even though we have some very loyal community support it is very difficult to maintain it.
       The thing is we always tried to give our loyal customers a better price than they could get online. We always tried to give our customers what they (Guitar Center) couldn't give, like music lessons and repair on all of their instruments but the big blood sucking squid (like Matt Taibbi likes to call it) just copies us they now have moved in and started giving lessons ( although they are not as successeful at it) and they also try doing some repair as a part of their business model.
       As far as what they have done for this community they have done squat compared to us!!! But because of there monopolistic Walmart status they are destroying the American Dream for alot of Americans.
       I could go on and on but the gist of this is to let people know we are not giving in we are sick of it and we are not going to take it anymore!!! We the small business community do not charge more for the same product and services and yes we have a major impact on the local communities because we are the community. So every time I see someone trying to be helpful and communicate the need to support the local businesses even if you pay a little more I want you to know that is not true. We know what the going price is on our products and we for the most part are forced to beat the big box retailers price in order to earn the communties business.
       So please heed our call and shop at your locally owned business. You won't pay more and you will be able to help a neighbor provide for his family and their community!!

    •  MAJOR kudos- and we have friends who own small (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, stratdan, ichibon, nicolemm

      businesses and I want to share your story with others, but even though you work hard to be competitive, in my area you would not be the norm.

      As I think of it, our local guitar/drum store has a similar model to you and their prices are great - they also offer the option to buy used equipment. At one point there were two of them in town. The larger one had been there longer but their location was in an industrial park and not easy to find and they finally closed around the time online sales were taking off, but the smaller one with a great main street location is still there.

      To your point - I can site so many instances where the local specialized retail store is more expensive. Our local hardware store is, in some cases, almost twice as much as  Home Depot - about 5 miles away - for smaller items. But the hardware store is "around the corner," has been there "forever," they actually know how to use everything in their stores and can get you what you need if it's not on their shelves.
      Next to the hardware store is a local kitchen store that offers famous cookware, the same stuff you can get at MAcy's for significantly higher prices, but they have so many other things in the store geared just for cooks, they also special-order and know how to use everything in their store.  
      The florist in that same block has unique designs but can't compete w/online florists. But that unique design makes them first choice for me.

      The flooring guy can't compete w/home depot (just a few miles away) pricing, but is so incredibly involved in giving back to the community and gives personal service, so he is often the first choice.  

      There have been difficult times where we personally have chosen a box store over a local business in a pinch because we couldn't afford the higher price, but as work is more steady and things get better, we'd rather see the familiar faces and expertise get our money, and there is something very comfortable and comforting about that that no big box retail store can compete with....

      Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

      by 51percent on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:24:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the shopping atmosphere is so much better ,too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    51percent

    I did some holiday shopping at the Electric Fetus which had a 20% off sale both Fri & Sat, maybe there had been some lining up and competitiveness  early on Friday for those who wanted the collectible Record Store Day releases, but by the time I got there today, the mood was mellow though it was jam packed and I had to park a block away; usually I can get in the lot.

    A live band was playing near the check out, people of all ages were pawing through the vast collection of vinyl and cds, and the gift section (clothing, candles, gag gifts, etc) was even more crowded, but no one was rude or pushy. The staff were plenty busy yet appeared relaxed.

    The only problem I had today was that I found 3 things for myself, only one of which I had really planned on getting if I found it :-) but $4 to get Chris Cornell singing Ave Maria was totally worth it!

    -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

    by nicolemm on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 06:07:55 PM PST

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