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Ashley Bell: Why you should shop at small businesses this holiday
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People walk on the square during Jingle Mingle in downtown Gainesville on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

By Ashley Bell

Small businesses have the power to fuel local economies and lift up communities.

When we shop small, we’re supporting America’s small businesses that create two out of three net new jobs.

When we celebrate Small Business Saturday — this year on Nov. 24, the Saturday after Thanksgiving — we honor the 30 million small businesses that ignite our local economies and enrich our communities throughout the entire year.

Last year, Small Business Saturday made a major impact on the U.S. economy: 108 million consumers shopped or dined small and generated approximately $12 billion in reported spending.

We are excited to see this shopping experience directly impact our neighborhoods and communities by adding jobs and dollars in to our local communities.

We can feel the positive impact Small Business Saturday has right here in Gainesville, Georgia. With a metro population of just under 200,000, Forbes has ranked Gainesville 20th in the nation for being the “best small place for business and careers.”

As we know, there is a lot of opportunity in Gainesville, and Small Business Saturday provides us the chance to honor the city and the entrepreneurs that help make it thrive.

I plan to shop small as well as dine small in Gainesville Nov. 24.

Recently, I met with Brenau University President Dr. Ed L. Schrader and we discussed the importance of the Business Incubator located at the Featherbone Communiversity. The incubator not only assists existing small businesses, but it also provides direct assistance to startup companies to establish their business enterprise in this rapidly changing world.

Small Business Saturday is in place to acknowledge established storefronts as well as what might be located right in your backyard, such as a small business located in the business incubator. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are all around us, and Gainesville would not be where it is today without them.

This year, Americans are seeing more money in their paychecks following President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, and more than 6 million American workers have seen a bonus as well.

This is positive news for small businesses, especially during the holiday season, as Americans can spend that money on local Main streets and for additional products and services.

As the holiday shopping season begins, let’s recommit in honoring our neighborhood champions, America’s small businesses.

Saturday, Nov. 24 is Small Business Saturday — a day to celebrate and support small businesses for all they contribute to our communities.

I encourage you to join me and the more than 100 million Americans in shopping and dining small on Small Business Saturday as you begin (or maybe complete!) your holiday shopping. Be sure to share your stories and where you’re shopping via social media using #ShopSmall. See you in Gainesville as we #ShopSmall!

Ashley Bell is a Gainesville native and the regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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