It’s that time of year again…Thanksgiving is right around the corner followed by “Black Friday,” (the big box stores’ sales on the day after Thanksgiving) and “Cyber Monday,” (online stores’ sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving).
But don’t forget “Small Business Saturday,” a great day to shop. Beginning in 2010, American Express has promoted the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage shoppers to spend at locally owned, independent brick-and-mortar stores. “Buy Local” movements have picked up steam throughout the United States but the growth of big box stores and Internet shopping have affected locally owned firms. In a long-term study of independent and chain stores conducted by American Express, the market share of locally owned independent businesses declined from 59 percent in 1990 to 48 percent in 2009.
Why are small businesses important to the local economy? Looking at 27 independent dominated business districts studied by Civic Economics, the average district employed over 1,800 workers. Residential neighborhoods served by a successful independent business district gained, on average, 50 percent more in home values than their citywide markets over the last 14 years. Locally owned businesses are important.
Luckily for those in the Sylvania area, there is a myriad of small businesses from which to choose. Local shoppers can purchase almost everything they may need or want within city and township boundaries. Shoppers can purchase items from furniture to window treatments for their homes or offices. They can find fashions to suit a variety of tastes and budgets for men and women.
Shoppers can also purchase shoes, baked goods, toys, books, sports items and equipment, flowers, coins, jewelry, musical instruments, computer equipment and accessories, sewing supplies, hardware, specialty foods, and much, much more in Sylvania and Sylvania Township.
The advantages of shopping local are many. First and foremost, friendly, helpful service is the watchword in small, local shops where the store owner is more than likely your clerk. If you are a repeat customer, the shop owner and other staff know you by name. They also know what you like and will help you find what you are looking for, saving you time and effort. Many times, store owners and their staff will alert you when a special item arrives in the store or they will be willing to put something aside so you don’t miss out on an item you want.
In addition, shoppers will not have to wait in long lines in small, locally owned stores. Also, parking is close by and shops are easily accessible.
Linda Bowyer, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus at The University of Toledo, where she taught finance for 22 years. She currently serves on the board of Resolute Bank in Maumee