Show some love for small businesses

FLINT TWP. — Black Friday and Cyber Monday have headlined Thanksgiving weekend shopping news for years. But since 2010, Small Business Saturday has been grabbing a share of the limelight.

Founded by American Express five years ago, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is singled out to encourage people to shop at small businesses.

“The single day (November 29 this year) has grown into a powerful movement and more people are taking part than ever before,’’ according to the Small Business Saturday web site at small-business/shop-small/smallbiz-benefits? extlink=SBS2014_ Search_

By entering a zip code, shoppers can get a list of participating retailers, restaurants, entertainment venues and services such as doctors, dentists, attorneys hair and tanning salons.

About 300 businesses are listed in the 48507 zip code alone, representing the heart of the Flint Township retail corridor.

Among them are Dale’s Natural Foods, 4290 Miller Road; Shoe Prints, 4205 Miller Road; Leather & Fur Warehouse, 3461 S. Linden; Karen’s Carpetmax, 3106 S. Linden Road; Magoo’s Outlet, 3314, S. Linden; Medawar Jewelers, 3093 S. Linden; Creative Jewelers, 2127 S. Linden; Calvin & Company, 5076 Pilgrim; Rider’s Hobby Shop; 2061 Linden and several businesses inside Genesee Valley Center shopping mall.

About 100 restaurants also are listed. The are being highlighted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency, that has partnered with the National Restaurant Association to encourage people to dine out during the busiest shopping weekend of the year, according to an SBA press release.

“Local restaurants pack a big punch to our nation’s economy, as part of the economic powerhouse that is American small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

“The restaurant industry is projected to add 1.3 million jobs over the next 10 years and to project $683.4 billion in total sales, equaling 4 percent of the U.S. GDP. The SBA is proud to partner with the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to champion this great sector of American small businesses.”

The restaurant industry boasts as estimated $1.8 trillion impact on the nation’s economy. Each dollar spent in restaurants generates an extra two dollars in sales for other industries, spurring economic activity.

“Restaurants provide valuable jobs and careers for more than 13.5 million people and are strong economic engines in communities nationwide,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association. “While the industry is the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, the overwhelming majority of restaurants, more than 90 percent, have fewer than 50 employees.”

The SBA and the NRA are encouraging small business owners and community members to share success stories of restaurants in their areas on social media using the hashtag “#DineSmall.” This will allow communities to come together and show support for entrepreneurs across the country.

To encourage the public to dine small and to help restaurants prepare for the busy day, the SBA also will launch a social media campaign called #ShowUsYourMenu. Restaurants have been asked to create a special menu for Small Business Saturday and promote it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to spotlight their business and remind everyone to #DineSmall while they #ShopSmall.

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce also is encouraging support of the region’s small businesses.

Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber, said he majority of the Chamber’s over 1,200 members and affiliates are small businesses that have an ever increasing impact on the economic strength of the region.

“Small Business Saturday is all about supporting local businesses,” said Herman, in a press release. “This is the time of year when everyone is in search of special gifts for family and friends. That’s why it is important to visit local small businesses to see what they have to offer. There are hundreds of small businesses in the region with the products to meet your shopping needs. I hope local shoppers from Flint to Fenton and beyond will come out next Saturday and find new businesses to support.”

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