This weekend, the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season starts in earnest. Beginning with Black Friday and ending with Cyber Monday, the traditional shopping spree that follows Thanksgiving is the most important weekend of the year for many retail businesses.
While the excitement of Black Friday can really put you in the holiday spirit, it’s the second day of the shopping weekend that I cheer for — Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 28 — today — and small businesses in communities across the state are already gearing up for what is sure to be a successful weekend.
Small businesses represent about 96 percent of all employers in the state, and West Virginia’s small businesses employ more than half of the state’s private workforce. These creative companies include artists in media from fiber to forged metal, bakers who can whip up a mouthwatering pie or the perfect pepperoni roll, and restaurants that cater to tastes from spicy curries to meatloaf like mom used to make. West Virginia small businesses produce a range of goods that make great holiday gifts including Fiesta dinnerware, collegiate apparel, fishing sinkers, marbles, sandals, saunas, artisan salt, and hand-blown glass.
Chances are good that these entrepreneurs and their employees are people you know. They are our friends and neighbors. They are the parents who volunteer with you for school events and the helping hands on civic projects.
A vibrant downtown can boost business, strengthen communities and revitalize the local economy. Research shows that more of the dollars spent with locally owned small businesses tend to stay in the local economy. As consumers, we show our support when we buy from West Virginia’s small businesses in our local communities. As a reminder, Main Street West Virginia and ON TRAC have provided local shops with Small Business Saturday posters to display on doors and in windows.
Shopping small can really add up! Last year, an estimated $14.3 billion was spent at small, independent businesses on Small Business Saturday across the country.
This weekend as you head out to find that perfect Christmas gift for your loved one, please help by shopping small and supporting West Virginia’s hardworking small business owners.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is the 35th and current governor of West Virginia. He can be reached at 304-558-2000 or 1-888-438-2731. Follow on Twitter @GovTomblin.