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Shopping small, local in Newton County creates major economic impact
Small Business Saturday slated for Nov. 27
Small Business Saturday

COVINGTON, Ga. — Locally owned businesses might be considered “small,” but their impact on the economy is enormous.

Small Business Saturday, slated for Nov. 27, will be one of the most important days of the year for local businesses, but it could be a much more profitable one compared to 2020.

In a late October report, the National Retail Federation predicted holiday sales in November and December could grow by more than 10% from one year ago, which could amount shoppers spending more than $850 billion, and that includes spending at automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. 

“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.

“Pandemic-related supply chain disruptions have caused shortages of merchandise and most of this year’s inflationary pressure,” Kleinhenz continued. “With the prospect of consumers seeking to shop early, inventories may be pulled down sooner and shortages may develop in the later weeks of the shopping season. However, if retailers can keep merchandise on the shelves and merchandise arrives before Christmas, it could be a stellar holiday sales season.”

In 2020, the NRF reported more than $777.3 billion in holiday sales — an 8.2% increase from the year before, despite the pandemic.

With a “bright” forecast by the NRF, it’s important shoppers are spending their dollars locally at area small businesses. 

Last year, the total reported projected spending among U.S. consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday alone reached an estimated $19.8 billion, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” Newton County Chamber President Debbie Harper said in September during a launch event for a “shop local” campaign. “They need our support.”

Today, there are over 32.5 million small businesses in the United States, according to the SBA. About half of all-American workers are either employed by a small business or own a small business, and two out of three net new jobs are created by small businesses.

Studies show the majority of employees working for small businesses are locals. The NRF expects retailers nationwide will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers. That compares with 486,000 seasonal hires in 2020.

When people shop at local small businesses, they’re not only helping keep theses establishments afloat. The community, as a whole, reaps the benefits.

According to researchers, for every dollar spent locally, 68 cents stays local, which helps fund a variety of things such as road maintenance projects and education, health and/or public safety services.

“On Saturday and throughout the holiday season, let’s patronize our small shops, restaurants, theaters, entertainment centers, and more to help support their recovery,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a news release. “It takes hard work, grit, and determination to bounce back from a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and the SBA is proud to do its part to provide entrepreneurs with vital resources. Now more than ever, let’s buy local to support small business owners who are creating opportunity and driving job growth across the nation.”