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OPINION: When We ‘Shop Small’ We Help Our Communities Thrive

By Will Barclay


New York’s local businesses are the driving force behind the State’s fiscal well-being, and the goods and services they supply are irreplaceable in our daily lives. To maintain the health of local economies, we must continue to support the small businesses within our communities. One way we can accomplish that is by [shopping at small, local retailers this holiday season.]

[The season kicked off with the] celebration of Small Business Saturday, which took place this year on Saturday, Nov. 27. Small Business Saturday is a staple of the holiday shopping season along with other notable days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While those days offered bargains to consumers shopping for big-ticket items, the Saturday between was an opportunity for consumers to find things they might not be able to get from larger, national retailers. New York has some incredible options and items you simply cannot get anywhere else and buying them greatly benefits both shoppers and local owners. 

According to information from the U.S. Small Business Administration, last year, consumers shopping at independent establishments on Small Business Saturday spent an estimated $19.8 billion. The 2020 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey shows 97 percent of participating shoppers reported they “recognized the positive impact they can make by shopping small” and 85 percent said they have also encouraged others to “shop small.”

Further, shopping locally is not only a great way to support our neighbors, but also objectively more beneficial to and has a direct impact on the communities in which we live. According to Independent We Stand, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 is returned to the community. In contrast, that number is substantially higher than the $43 returned to the community when purchases are made at national chains.

At a time when our economy has been severely disrupted by the impact of COVID-19, plagued by supply-chain issues and reeling from ongoing labor shortages, it is more important than ever we support independent retailers. While major corporations can fall back on enormous reserves of cash and credit, many small businesses simply do not have that luxury.

This holiday shopping season, consider giving independent sellers a little extra attention; it will go a long way toward keeping their doors open and allowing them to continue to provide the goods and services that make our state so unique. There truly is never a bad time to “shop small.”  

William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. 

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