Shop Small: Local small businesses need your patronage

Most of us are familiar with Small Business Saturday, the nationwide effort to encourage those beginning their Christmas shopping to consider local small businesses, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But West Virginia’s Small Business Administration has asked residents to “Shop Small in July,” as well, as part of an effort to remind us that “96 percent to 98 percent of businesses in West Virginia are small businesses,” and without our patronage, they disappear.

In fact, now is a lean time of year for small businesses, which are running out of any extra cash gained during the holiday shopping season. Back-to-school shopping is on its way, of course, and that will be a bonus for some; but summer vacation season can be the doldrums for small business owners.

As one West Virginia Small Business Development Center business coach put it, “If we can just get (shoppers) out to visit some local shops they haven’t visited before, it may open their eyes, let them see what is available to them.” It may change shopping habits, which could mean big things not just for the small businesses themselves, but for local economies as a whole.

Remember a business owner who lives in your community is spending money in the community, too.

Social-media savvy shoppers can spread the word by using #ShopSmallWV or checking-in when they visit small businesses. The campaign is an important reminder that while we all hold our breath waiting for that big score — the next giant employer to choose West Virginia and provide a boost to the economy — the folks who run our local small businesses continue to plug away, quietly keeping our economy going. Helping them helps us all. So not just this month, but each time it is an option, Shop Small.


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