Take a chance to shop with local small businesses; it’s more than prices

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Everyone wants to take advantage of the holiday shopping season, especially when it is shortened.

Rick Howe, director of visitor services for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, says the business community is taking a different approach to the traditional “Black Friday” and changing it slightly, calling it “White Friday.”

The idea sprung from a discussion about the No. 1 ranking from Ski Magazine, which moved to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort officials, followed by a conversation with the Jackson Hole News & Guide, and back to the chamber promoting it.

“We say its the stay, place, shop, dine… three days in Jackson Hole,” he says. “What can we do to keep people in town.”

The celebration focuses on things people do when they come to town: free skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort; a festive Town Square Lighting event; business giveaways and drawings (American Express gift card giveaways).

“We just wanted to do something spectacular to keep people local and shopping locally,” says Howe. “Businesses are encouraged to join the fun and to promote specials and free events.”

In addition, the chamber is a strong supporter of the Small Business Saturday, a promotional event sponsored by the American Express and the Better Business Bureau.

“We encourage our local community to spend 10 percent more locally,” he says. “That means $800,000 would go into the local economy.”

Small businesses are typically the cornerstone of a community, creating jobs, spurring local economic growth, and giving back to society. The overshadowing holiday hype of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” tends to emphasis major retailers. But small businesses offer a lot for holiday shoppers.

For a fourth year, Better Business Bureau is supporting Small Business Saturday urging consumers to support the small businesses in their communities on Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

It’s the perfect time to take a break from the crowded shopping mall and instead check out the small neighborhood stores and businesses. You’ll find unique gifts, gourmet foods and more to make your holidays distinctive, fresh and fun.

Small Business Saturday was huge in 2012 was a huge. Consumer awareness reached a reported 67 percent and an estimated $5.5 billion was spent at small, independently owned retailers, according to American Express OPEN, which launched SBS. Since Small Business Saturday was born in 2010 and officially recognized by the U.S. Senate in 2011, the once little-known campaign has become a movement that millions of people, businesses, and communities have embraced nationwide.

With your help, Small Business Saturday could be even bigger this year. Get involved by helping your community prepare, promoting your local businesses, and encouraging your friends and family to “Shop Small.” And don’t forget to go out and shop at your local businesses on Nov. 30. The more businesses and shoppers that get involved, the bigger and more beneficial the day will be for local communities.

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