Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it, one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. One lawmaker is urging American consumers not to forget small, independently-owned businesses as they do their holiday shopping.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, recently co-sponsored a resolution designating Nov. 24 as “Small Business Saturday.” The day falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and advocates want small businesses to benefit from the windfall of consumer spending.

“Small, locally owned businesses are the driving force behind job creation in America, but they need our support,” said Senator Cardin in a statement.

Maryland is home to 517,000 small businesses, Cardin said, which employ 1.1 million workers. Those businesses represent 97.6 percent of all employers and 52.1 percent of the entire private-sector workforce. Therefore, supporting small businesses fosters a stronger local economy, the lawmaker argued.

“Buying local is one of the best things we can all do to help foster our economic recovery,” Cardin said.

According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 226 million shoppers spent $52.4 billion on purchases during Thanksgiving weekend last year, and spending is expected to increase by about 4.1 percent this year.

According to Cardin, for every $100 spent with locally owned, independent stores nationwide, $68 returns to the community through local taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.

“Small Business Saturday is a great chance for all of us to support small, independently owned businesses that help sustain local communities…all across America,” he said. “This Nov. 24 – and every day of the year – we can all play a part in growing America’s economy by giving small businesses on Main Street a helping hand.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO