November 22, 2023

Just My Opinion - By Mary Kilen

will be the big kick off to the holiday season in Stanley with the annual Parade of Lights starting at 6:00 p.m. on Main Street. This is always one of my favorite events of the holiday season. This is a great day to be in town 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.
Small Business Saturday was an idea created by American Express on November 27, 2010. The campaign launched in order to help small businesses gain additional exposure and to change the way consumers shop within their own community during the holiday season. In 2011, the day became official when Washington State mayors, governors, senators, and President Obama shared their support for Small Business Saturday. 
As the day began to pick up more traction, in 2012 American Express encouraged all small business owners to take charge and promote their business. The credit card company offered small business owners free, personalized ads to spread across the web. That year, an estimated $5.5 billion was spent across the nation at independent businesses. By 2013, neighborhoods began celebrating the day, pledging support to the local businesses and organizations. 
As the support and participation has continued to grow, the numbers are expected to rise as more consumers continue to care just as much about the shopping experience as the gifts they’re purchasing.
Shopping local matters. It supports a community’s well-being while keeping dollars in the local economy. That in turn supports jobs and wages and creates sustainability in small businesses.
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
My small business roots run deep. While the hardware store my great grandfather started in 1906 no longer operates, we now have five generations that have owned various small businesses in North Dakota. I have seen first-hand the importance of the community to the success of their local small businesses and vice versa. Neither thrives without the other.
Small businesses drive our local economy by hiring workers, providing essential goods and services, and give back to our communities through supporting everything from area non-profits to the little league baseball teams.  
According to SBA’s Office of Advocacy, there are 73,822 small businesses accounting for 98.7 percent of all North Dakota businesses. Nationally, there are over 33 million small businesses and startups in the United States. Small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs, making them crucial pillars of communities across the country.
This year, Small Business Saturday will be held on November 25th, marking the 14th annual Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to create awareness of the important role small businesses play in our communities and in our local, state, and national economies.
Last year, shoppers came together to support their local communities, and Small Business Saturday drove an estimated $17.9 billion based on projections from U.S. consumer-reported spending.
Please help me support our local small businesses who support our main streets by shopping at a small retailer, eating at an independent restaurant, or hiring a small business service company. Together we can keep our communities vibrant and our small businesses successful.
 (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. 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.

Happy Thanksgiving!
As I write my column on Monday, I’m busy already thinking about Thanksgiving Day plans. It will be strange because it will just be Dale and I this year. I had to search for a smaller turkey. Then I forgot to take it out on Sunday, so I put it in the refrigerator today. Because of its size, it should still be thawed by Thursday. If it’s not, cold water baths for turkeys is common at our house because I always seem to not take the bird out of the freezer soon enough. I’ve cut back my menu because it seems a little ridiculous to make all that food for just the two of us. We rotate Thanksgiving with Amanda and Zach and the kids. One year they are with us and the next with Zach’s parents. While it will be quiet around our house this year, we still have much to be thankful for.
So Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers! May you make time in all of the hustle and bustle to be thankful for the gifts you have been given.