Small businesses across the county are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, a day meant for focusing on shopping local.
Dan Heitzenrater, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said this year it is vital for area residents to focus on supporting local businesses.
“Small Business Saturday is an annual tradition as a part of the holiday season overall, but especially the shopping season,” Heitzenrater said. “The idea is for consumers to support their local community and try to spend some of their dollars locally, as opposed to the traditional Black Friday holiday shopping that is heavily drawn more toward big-box retailers. It’s an opportunity for people to go out, explore their communities and support the local smaller shops.”
Heitzenrater said the efforts are a nationally coordinated initiative by American Express. He added that there are various reasons to do holiday shopping locally this year, including keeping funds local.
“It’s more important than ever this year especially to support small businesses and participate in Small Business Saturday because, first of all, it’s an opportunity to shop safe with the continued, ongoing pandemic,” Heitzenrater said. “It’s typically going to be a safer environment. But, also, there’s a lot of question marks and consumer worry about the supply chain issues. Certainly, some of our small businesses are also experiencing those, but it’s not going to be to the scale likely that larger retailers might experience.”
He said those circumstances, in addition to the large economic hit many small businesses have taken over the past 18 months, are all the more reasons for area residents to get out to local businesses this Saturday and support their local community.
“In a general sense, just like any other year, when you shop small, 67 cents is estimated out of every dollar that you spend stays in the local community. That’s again money that is supporting in your community and then being reinvested.”
However, the benefits aren’t all financial, Heitzenrater said.
“When you participate in Small Business Saturday, make it an experience,” he said. “Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to go out and explore your community. You may have a few specific places you want to stop, but get an experience along the way – take family and friends with you, stop and grab lunch and sit down to take some time to really be in the community and enjoy the experience rather than just making it about a transaction.”
For those who can’t make it out to shop local on Saturday, Heitzenrater invites the public to visit the local business online shopping portal at www.ShopLocalCHQ.com that features various local businesses.
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said local businesses are vital to the city.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and part of what makes Jamestown so special,” Sundquist said. “After the past few years, it is important to reflect on the challenges small businesses face and celebrate their resiliency and contributions to our community. I encourage everyone to celebrate and shop at our local, small businesses not only on Small Business Saturday but every day.”