Putnam County Small Businesses Have Earned Our Support 365 Days Each Year
Small Business Saturday is in the news lately, nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Is it just another sales gimmick designed to separate people from their money? Or is there a more noble purpose behind the attention focused each year on the small business community?
Conceived by American Express in 2010 and promoted via social media, Small Business Saturday has been recognized by the US Senate and credited with prompting $5.5B in consumer spending in 2012 as surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business. As a leader of a major business organization, I think the event is a good idea. I do, however, admit to some chagrin at the need for a special day to encourage shoppers to shop in Putnam County. Small businesses provide up to 70% of all jobs created in the USA, are often the first employers of our young people and last employers of our seniors. When I dine out I usually know the owner server, bartender and busgirl. The same goes for the local Jeweler, Gift shop Fish market, Fence Company and many other locally owned businesses we can shop. They are owned and operated by neighbors and friends so why does it take a special day to focus customer attention on Putnam County’s small businesses?
Perhaps we need to remember why they went into business in the first place. Small business owners created their businesses around expressed needs of people in their area, meeting them in ways no one else could through personal relationships with customers. In addition to the personal service, just look at any local Baseball, Soccer or football team and you will see the small businesses certainly support our communities more than one day a year. Parades, Festivals, Tree lightings, Races and more are all sponsored by the local business community. The local business community also alleviates a huge portion of the property tax base in our County allowing commercial building owners to keep investing in Putnam County. In the words of Putnam County Executive Maryellen Odell, “Everyone comes out ahead when customers shop locally.” Unsurpassed quality and timely service should ensure that small businesses always have a prominent economic role in our communities.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, thePutnamCountyChambers of Commerce