Wed, April 08

Babbling Brooks: Shop safely — at businesses tied to your own community

Jason W. Brooks is the associate editor of the Verde Independent.

Jason W. Brooks is the associate editor of the Verde Independent.

Even with stormy weather forecast for the first part of this weekend, this could be a time to make a difference in your local economy.

As of Wednesday morning, the forecast was for rain, snow and wind on Friday, perhaps making things slushy.

Hopefully, by the time many of you read this, the predicted Thanksgiving storm will have rolled through already, quickly bringing us much-needed moisture and blanketing Sedona and other parts of the Verde Valley with a beautiful winter landscape coating, in time for snowplows to clear the roads on one of the busiest travel weekends in the year.

If things get extremely slick, we’ll understand if folks decide it’s unsafe to go out at all, saving their holiday shopping for another day.

However, if conditions do allow for driving or walking around, we hope you give your neighborhood or community entrepreneurs your business.

Of course, we also hope you’re attempting to do this all year long. However, for the past 10 years, Small Business Saturday has involved special promotions and discounts designed to lure in local shoppers.

The hope has been that if you and I can find some deals or the exact gift or needed item during the busiest shopping time of the year, we’ll be back later on, and will be motivated to check out what other local merchants have to offer as well.

It takes almost no effort to shop online. It takes more effort, in some cases, to find a gift or needed item around town. But let’s get past the slight inconvenience and the chance of not finding the exact goods and services you’re seeking and ask for local help first.

That effort we make, as customers, is small compared to the backbreaking work put in by entrepreneurs and other small business owners and staff trying to meet our needs.

We should reward that effort by using our community connections, our local newspaper and our feet to get out into our neighborhoods and see what is available within miles of home.

According to the Small Business Administration’s 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of an estimated $17.8 billion.

That same SBA survey reported that more than 70 percent of consumers are now aware of the Small Business Saturday initiative.

Based on this survey over the years, Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began in 2010.

Let’s pitch in and show local business owners — from the ones who’ve been around for decades to those who are just getting established — that we value their contributions both to our economy and our society.

It’s not likely we’re going to be able to buy all goods and services from a local retailer or manufacturer. But when we reach decision points or decide if we’re going to head to a “big box” store or a local shopping district, let’s side with our neighbors.

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