COLUMN: This year’s Small Business Saturday may be the most critical in history

Small Business Saturday is a relatively new American tradition. While Black Friday has been an informal holiday for more than 60 years, it wasn’t until 2010 that the Saturday after Thanksgiving earned its official title, designating it as a day to shop local and support hometown retailers.

In a year where businesses have faced profound challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Small Business Saturday may be more critical than ever before. In fact, many locally owned retailers earn upwards of 50 percent of annual revenues during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As precautions have been taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many restaurants, retailers and service businesses are concerned that benchmark will be hard to achieve.

As the voice of America’s entrepreneurs, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrates the nation’s 30 million small businesses that ignite our local economies and enrich our communities, and has worked diligently throughout the pandemic to provide essential programs and lifelines that have kept businesses viable. The agency’s administration of the successful Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs injected nearly a trillion dollars into the American economy and sustained millions of businesses and nonprofit organizations. This assistance was essential, but it cannot compare to customers in stores, families enjoying hometown attractions and the daily bustle of unrestricted life.

The health and success of Colorado small businesses is particularly important as small businesses are powerful job creators throughout the state. In total, Colorado’s 653,000 small businesses generate two of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services in both rural and urban communities, employing more than 1.1 million Coloradans.

In so many ways, small businesses act as the glue that holds our communities together. They fund the local tax base, finance local nonprofits and charitable organizations, and create good jobs that boost the overall marketplace. By backing our locally-owned small businesses, you support the thousands of jobs they create and the families they sustain.

As you celebrate the holidays this year — whether that is continuing with annual traditions or connecting with family and friends through a screen or phone call — remember to shop small. Support your main street businesses online or in accordance with the guidelines in your community, order a family dinner from your favorite local restaurant, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. Small business owners are true hometown heroes and they deserve our appreciation.

Dan Nordberg is SBA’s National Director for Rural Affairs, and Region VIII Administrator based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

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