Oakland Press: Shop local on Small Business Saturday

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Next week, residents across Oakland County, the state of Michigan, and the entire nation will celebrate one of America’s great holidays: Thanksgiving. I cherish the time that Thanksgiving affords us to step back from our hectic lives, to slow down, and to express thankfulness as we reflect upon the many blessings we have in our families, our state and our nation.

Thanksgiving Day itself is one of these blessings as it enables us to spend some quiet time with friends and family and enjoy a fine meal together.

In recent memory, that time of quiet and peaceful thanksgiving has been cut increasingly short with the intrusion of the holiday shopping season, which begins in earnest the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday.

Black Friday — now somewhat of a misnomer as more and more stores begin the event during the early evening hours of Thanksgiving Day — is when retailers open early and offer promotional sales. Three days after Black Friday comes Cyber Monday, in which companies offer deals to entice people to shop online.

Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, and online shopping certainly is one of them. Many people are finding, however, that we lose something when we shop online. As we sit in front of our computer screens four days after Thanksgiving Day, making purchase after purchase, many of us long for the sense of family and community that Thanksgiving provided.

We realize that in most instances, shopping online means our money heads to large corporations out of state. Some of that business ends up hurting local businesses and our own neighbors.

So what can do about this? Thankfully, there is a shopping event designed to counteract some of the negative effects cybershopping can have on a community.

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a day designated Small Business Saturday, and it occurs every year two days after Thanksgiving. This year it falls on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Small Business Saturday recognizes that small businesses are the backbone of our national and state economies and the engine of job creation.

Because of the vital importance of small businesses, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

Local shopping supports the businesses that help our economy thrive. It also helps keep more dollars in the community and increases the number and quality of jobs in the area.

This year, I encourage you to shop in your community over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: Buy local on Saturday, Nov. 25 — Small Business Saturday!

This column appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.