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Thursday, Nov 22 2012 11:00 PM

Buy from a local business Saturday

By The Bakersfield Californian

When it comes to post-Thanksgiving Day shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday get the most attention. But don't forget the day sandwiched in between: Small Business Saturday. It's tomorrow and it's intended to encourage locals to spend money at the smaller, independent businesses in their community.

What could be more in keeping with the Thanksgiving season than the idea of supporting local families that own businesses, neighbors employed by those businesses and the community that benefits from them?

These businesses need our support. If you think small businesses that managed to stay open through the Great Recession are in the clear, think again. With an economy still sputtering in certain sectors, many small, locally owned shops continue to struggle. In a recent survey, small businesses said weak sales remain the biggest issue they face.

Sadly, we don't need surveys to tell us this. Two longtime locally owned shops closed in recent months, primarily due to lagging sales. Olcott's, a high-end home furnishings store, had annually increasing sales for 35 years up until the economic collapse. Sales shrank afterward and its workforce was cut by more than half. It closed in September. Just a couple of months later, Tangerine, a women's fashion boutique that specialized in independent designers and primarily American-made clothing, also closed up, citing declining sales. The community lost a bit of its uniqueness and charm with the closing of these two retail stores.

Think about the businesses in our local community and chances are the ones that stand out -- whether for their unique selection or excellent customer service -- are locally owned. Small Business Saturday is about supporting these businesses. And this isn't just a call for overindulgent holiday shopping. Simply choose to eat at your favorite local restaurant or take your computer in for repair at the locally owned shop. That counts, too.

If you really want to do something to help the economy this holiday season, make a point to patronize a local small business.

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