Viewpoint: Mike Sparks ‘Let’s remember the importance of supporting our Tennessee Small Businesses’


By Mike Sparks

Let’s Support our Tennessee Small Businesses

Our great state of Tennesseee and our country need to support our small businesses, local shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, this year, it’s on Nov. 26.
By supporting Small Business Saturday, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
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Black Friday is a great day to shop —  that is, if you enjoy being among large crowds, long lines and folks who may not be pleasant to be around.


According to NFIB, the voice of small businesses. Since 1943 NFIB has advocated on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners — both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals.


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Black Friday might not have the impact it once did as chain stores and online retailers launch their holiday sales earlier and earlier in the season, but Small Business Saturday keeps getting bigger and bigger.


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According to a survey by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business, last year, spending at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion, up 18% from $19.8 billion the year before and a substantial increase from the $19.6 billion spent in 2019.

Below are some simple tips offered by NFIB to help with Small Business Saturday:

  • Stay on top of your social media. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest, post often and promote any Small Business Saturday deals. Use the hashtags #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat so shoppers can find you easily.
  • Showcase merchandise that would make a great gift. Group items on a table with a sign saying it would be the perfect gift for Mom or the grandparents, for example. Restaurants can offer Small Business Saturday specials and gift cards.
  • Offer doorbusters. Chain stores know a great way to drive shoppers to their stores is by offering exclusive deals at different times of the day. There’s no reason small businesses can’t do the same thing.
  • Partner with nearby businesses. Pool your resources to buy advertising promoting the neighborhood as a shopping destination or team up with other merchants on in-store promotions. For example, if someone buys an antique clock at your shop, remind them to grab lunch or dinner at the pizza shop down the street.
  • Don’t forget to tell your regular customers about Small Business Saturday. Put a sign in your shop and flyers in bags reminding folks to come back the Saturday after Thanksgiving for exclusive deals.


Small Business Saturday is the opposite of that. It seems like shoppers are in a pretty good mood on Small Business Saturday. They’re supporting their friends and neighbors, but they’re also finding things you can’t get at the mall, and chances are they’re dealing directly with the owner, someone who’ll do everything they can to turn a holiday shopper into a regular customer.

Convincing customers to shop throughout the year is important because Mississippi’s economy is built on its small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.3 percent of all businesses in Mississippi are small businesses, and, together, they employ 46 percent of the state’s workers.

Helping these businesses recover from the Great Recession is what prompted American Express to come up with Small Business Saturday in 2010. Since then, Small Business Saturday has taken on a life of its own.

Last year, spending at independent shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday reached an estimated $23.3 billion, up 18% from $19.8 billion the year before and a substantial increase from the $19.6 billion spent in 2019, according to a survey by American Express and my association, the National Federation of Independent Business. That included spending in person and online at small, independent businesses as well as dining in or ordering carryout from local restaurants.

I believe it’s important that we support local businesses because they’re facing many of the same challenges as the national chains. They got through the worst of the pandemic only to face supply chain issues and inflation that’s driving up the cost of everything from rent to wrapping paper.

Unless we shop small and shop local, some of these Main Street shops and restaurants might not make it, and we can’t afford to lose them. Small businesses make our communities strong and keep our economy healthy. When we support local businesses, 67 cents of every dollar we spend stays in the community, according to a study by American Express.