Thoughts from the Publisher | Nov. 25

Last week I was reading a Facebook post from my niece Laurie. So much of her message rang true, especially when she said, “You want your voice to be heard about jobs in America? Shop like it. You want the economy stimulated locally so your friends and relatives have jobs and retirements? Shop like it.”

I sent her a note asking if I could quote her in my column, and she replied that she did not write the post, she just “shared” it. The author, Laurie said, is her friend Letizia Hendrickson, small-business owner of Tart Bites Bakery in Encino. Thanks to Letizia for letting me share her sentiments.
Keeping her words in mind, I decided to write this week’s column about Small Business Saturday (SBS), and the importance of shopping locally.

For those who don’t know about SBS, let me fill you in. According to Bloomberg.com, Fortune.com and confirmed at American Express.com, SBS was a concept dreamt up by American Express in 2009 in an effort to help small businesses through their financial woes during the recession. One year later, SBS was officially launched.

SBS caught on across the country and this year will take place Saturday, Nov. 26.

To stimulate local participation, Blair Cohn of the Bixby Knolls Business Association has invited area residents to come out this Saturday “and shop, dine, and/or use a service in the greater Bixby Knolls area.” He suggests that locals use the day to meet our small-business owners and spend some money in their places of business.

“Grab your family, friends and neighbors. Tell your employees, clients, and customers. It’s just that important to participate and contribute to the overall success of the area,” says Cohn. I couldn’t agree more. Also, take a look around Wrigley, California Heights and Signal Hill for other small-business shopping and dining opportunities.

At this point in my message to our readers, I want to repeat what I wrote several years ago regarding holiday shopping. Here it is…

Nearly every homosapien on this planet is aware that today is “Black Friday.” For those non-shopper types who may be reading this, the definition of “Black Friday,” according to blackfridayandcybermonday.com, is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, [and] is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Many consider it the “official” beginning to the holiday season. Most retailers will open very early and usually provide massive discounts on their products. Although Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of customer traffic, it is not typically the day with the highest sales volume. That is usually either Christmas Eve or the last Saturday before Christmas.

Furthermore, information from the abovementioned website declares that the origin of the name “Black Friday” historically comes from the retailer’s shift to profitability during the holiday season. Back in the day when accounting records were kept by hand, red ink indicated financial loss while black ink indicated profit, thus coining the popular fiscal terms of being “in the red” (losing money) or “in the black” (profitable).

With all that said, I want to encourage all of you early shoppers to keep your holiday dollars close to home.

Our local retailers do their best to give their customers what they need and want and can use all the support they can get.

Whether you are looking for restaurant gift cards, furniture, clothing, electronics, jewelry or other gifts for loved ones, please patronize your area merchants. Hate standing in line at the post office? Need stamps or a package mailed? Don’t forget our local UPS stores in Bixby Knolls or the Mailbox Plus in Signal Hill. Those folks carry all the boxes and packing material you could possibly need and will get your packages where they need to go faster than Santa can say “Ho, ho, ho.”

In most cases, you will find small-business owners to be friendly and just gushing with customer service. Some even gift-wrap. It all boils down to this: you need the goods and services, and the merchants need the revenue in order to stay in business.

It’s a win-win and a marriage made in heaven. So pop the question already! ✦

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