Support locally owned small businesses this holiday season

by Linda Bowyer

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). This year, local business owners in downtown Sylvania are also promoting Black Friday sales during regular business hours.
But don’t forget, Saturday, Nov. 27, is “Small Business Saturday,” a great day to shop local. Since 2010, American Express has promoted the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a day to encourage shoppers to spend at locally owned, independent, brick-and-mortar stores. In 2019, according to American Express, shoppers spent a record high of $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday. This year is especially important for our local small businesses as, according to Facebook, COVID-19 has closed 31 percent of US small businesses. The small retailers and restaurants that are open need your support!

Tera Rogers looks over the angel suggested by Angela Christensen
of Angela’s Angels, a downtown Sylvania locally-owned business.

“Buy Local” movements have picked up steam throughout the United States but the growth of big box stores and Internet shopping has affected locally owned firms. Small businesses are still an important part of the economy. According to the Small Business Administration, there are over 29 million small businesses in the United States, with over 950,000 in Ohio alone. Those Ohio small businesses employ over 2.2 million workers and created over 46,000 jobs in 2016 alone. According the SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives), of every $1 spent at a locally owned business, 67 cents stays in the local community with 44 cents going to the owners and employees wages and benefits. In the SCORE study, 42 percent of Americans shop at local businesses three times a week, citing convenience, desire to support local businesses and superior customer service for their loyalty to neighborhood businesses.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance (, having locally owned businesses in the neighborhood also has environmental benefits. Small businesses are people-sized, consuming less land, carrying more locally made products, and are usually located closer to their customers, creating less traffic and pollution. Local charities and teams also benefit, as small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar as large businesses to non-profits and local events. A big advantage for small businesses and neighborhood organizations!
Luckily for those in the Sylvania area, there are 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. Restaurant gift cards make great gifts for people who are ordering “to go.”
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 the clerk. For those who are repeat customers, the shop owner and other staff know them by name. They also know what they like and will help them find what they are looking for, saving them time and effort. Many times, store owners and their staff will alert customers when a special item arrives in the store or they will be willing to put something aside so they don’t miss out on an item they want. In addition, shoppers do not have to wait in long lines in small, locally owned stores and parking is close by, making shops easily accessible.
Don’t forget to tell family and friends to shop at locally owned businesses and restaurants on Saturday, Nov. 27!

Dr. Linda Bowyer is Professor Emerita of Finance and past director of the Small Business Institute, University of Toledo.

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