By Sarah Self-Walbrick Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In Texas, shoppers have a lot of small businesses they can choose to back on this "Small Business Saturday." According to American Express, there are 2.6 million small businesses in the state.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas
Shara Konechney has been an entrepreneur in Lubbock for years. It's not an easy gig, she said, but with the help of her loyal staff and customers, going to work every day at her women's boutique Piper is fun.
Konechney, the city of Lubbock and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce are encouraging holiday shoppers to support businesses like Piper on this year's Small Business Saturday, today.
"I think that Small Business Saturday is perfectly aligned after Thanksgiving because we have so much to be thankful for as a small-business owner," Konechney said at a news conference at her store on Nov. 20.
Small Business Saturday is an initiative started by American Express in 2010. The day encourages shoppers to support small businesses of all kinds in their community the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
According to the National Retail Federation, Small Business Saturday is a mission shoppers have gotten behind.
Of those nationally surveyed who planned to shop over Thanksgiving weekend, 43 percent planned to shop on Saturday, with 76 percent doing so specifically to support local businesses.
In Texas, shoppers have a lot of small businesses they can choose to back. There are 2.6 million small businesses in the state, reports American Express, that make up over 99 percent of all businesses.
Many of those businesses are here in Lubbock. Over 90 percent of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce's 1,900 members employee 50 people or less. Seventy percent have 10 or fewer people on staff.
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, himself a small-business owner, said he tries to spend money at local establishments throughout the year. He said locally owned restaurants, for example, "do the very best job."
By shopping small, Pope said he gets to know the local owners and employees, who are great examples of a strong work ethic, like Konechney.
"She understands what her customers want. She's on the sales floor, she's here working," Pope said. "She knows what it takes to be successful. She's emblematic of many, many small businesses in our community."
Through hard work, Dianah Tatum, Chamber of Commerce chairwoman and co-owner of small business Sanford and Tatum Insurance, said unique shops help keep Lubbock's economy booming.
"Nov. 25 is about more than just shopping at local stores. It's about celebrating and sharing the small businesses that are part of our everyday lives," Tatum said. "From corner stores, to food trucks, to online boutiques, by shopping local retailers and supporting the small businesses that make Lubbock unique, we are investing in our local economy while supporting our friends and neighbors that call Lubbock home."
Pope echoed Tatum's sentiments, saying local businesses create local jobs. When local employees are paid, they stimulate the economy by investing in things like cars and homes. Thebusinesses and employees pay taxes, Pope said, with much of that money going toward civic needs.
"We would not have the kind of economy that we have if it wasn't for small businesses," Pope said. "We don't have any Fortune 500 businesses based in our community. We have a bunch of small- and medium-sized businesses that are the engine of our economy."
Each speaker at the news conference encouraged Lubbockites to #ShopSmallLBK on this Small Business Saturday.
"Shop till you drop," Tatum said. "That's what I'm going to be doing."
To find a Lubbock Chamber of Commerce small-business member, visit lubbockchamber.com/list.