November 23, 2022

Just My Opinion - by Mary Kilen

The Holiday Season Kicks Off
As I write my column this week, I’m looking forward to this week. We get to spend Thanksgiving with Amanda, Zach and the kids. They should be arriving some time on Wednesday and hopefully will get to stay through Saturday so they can enjoy the annual vendor show and Parade of Lights.
The kids love the Parade of Lights each time they are here and we stand outside in front of the Promoter no matter what the temperature. Some years we are bundled up more than others.
It looks like the weather should be somewhat cooperative this year with temperatures supposed to at least get out of the sub-zero range. After the last week’s cold temperatures and strong winds that will be greatly appreciated.
It could also be worse. We, at least, did not get the over six feet of snow that fell in the Buffalo, New York area. Perhaps I should be careful what I say. I don’t want to jinx us!
Meanwhile, Saturday, Nov. 26 will be the big kick off to the holiday season in Stanley. This is a great day to be in town with not only the vendor show and Parade of Lights, but to also visit all of the great businesses that Stanley has to offer.
Saturday is also Small Business Saturday. This date is designed to be a day to celebrate your small businesses after the craziness of Black Friday is over.
This year, we received some information in the email from the Small Business Administration on Small Business Saturday and I will share that with you here.
Support Your Local Small Business…Saturday
By Al Haut, SBA North Dakota District Director
It’s no secret that small businesses struggled through the pandemic, and some are still struggling with the affects of the pandemic – higher input costs, changing consumer habits and higher labor costs, if they can even find the workers.  Sort of long haul COVID for businesses.
However, the resiliency of small businesses should never be underestimated.  For many entrepreneurs, their can-do attitude is what motivated them to start their business in the first place and that same attitude is what helped them pivot and persevere through the pandemic.
Small Business Saturday was created to help small businesses capture a larger piece of consumer spending during the holiday season.  This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 26 and will mark the 13th year Americans have increased their efforts to support our hometown small businesses.
According to American Express, last year shoppers came together in full force to support their local communities, and Small Business Saturday hit a record high with an estimated $23.3 billion in reported spending at independent retailers and restaurants.
Let’s keep up the momentum -- small businesses still need our support now more than ever as they continue to fight the long-term effects of the pandemic and transition to stable, steady growth.   
America’s 33 million small businesses, 75,000 of them from North Dakota representing 98.8 percent of all ND firms, need our help to “Shop Small” throughout this holiday season and on Small Business Saturday.  Please join me by shopping at your local small business and dining at an independently owned restaurant during the holiday season and all year long.
(Alan Haut is the SBA’s North Dakota district director based in Fargo.  He oversees the agency’s programs and services across the entire state.)

Frankly, I love the idea of Small Business Saturday. I love being able to check out the vendor show in Stanley and shop in our local businesses. This Saturday marks just one of several events planned throughout the Christmas season.
Now more than ever, local businesses are relying on their customers to support them as we enter the Christmas season. We sometimes take our local businesses for granted. I get it. Sometimes we’re looking to save a few bucks, so we hit up the big box stores. Or maybe, we were in Minot anyway, so we wandered in and picked up way more than we intended. We all do it. Sometimes we have no choice. There are some things that you need to go to a bigger store to get.
What we need to think about, though, is what we can get at home. If we do not support our local businesses, we could lose them. Now, more than ever, not only do our local businesses need us but we also need them. Your local businesses will do their best to make sure you have what you need. They are the ones that will make a local delivery. What will you do if they are gone?
This year, think local. Shop local. Invest in your community and the businesses that have also invested in the community, organizations, schools and more. Your local businesses need you and it is time to step up to the plate and answer their call.