American customers urged to support small business
by Huang Heng, Guo Shuang
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. authorities and local officials have urged customers to shop on this year's Small Business Saturday, a new shopping holiday that falls on the fourth Saturday of November, and which is sandwiched between the traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
First observed in the country on Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday is not like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which feature big-box retail and e-commerce stores respectively such as Macy's and Amazon.com.
Small Business Saturday is less about big profits and more about encouraging holiday shoppers to patronize businesses owned by small merchants in their own communities, even backyards.
Avalon is a small community located in Santa Catalina Island in the western U.S. state of California, 90 km west of Los Angeles downtown, with only 3,700 residents.
"We are a small business, we do 10 percent off on anything in the store on Small Business Day," Marcela Johnson, who works for a local grocery in Avalon, told Xinhua.
"A lot of people here support local business, during last three days, we almost increased 30 percent. Cyber Monday comes too, we did way better last year, (online shopping) doesn't affect here very much, because there are many local supports here," said Johnson.
Independent neighborhood retailers, restaurants and producers like Johnson's grocery play a very important role in the country's economic system, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an independent federal agency supporting the interests of small business.
"Small businesses are the engine of our national economy. We now have in the United States about 30 million small businesses. About half of all American workers are either employed by a small business or own a small business. And two out of three new jobs are created by small business. Those are pretty powerful and compelling statistics," said Linda McMahon, Administrator of SBA, in a press release Saturday.
McMahon's words were echoed by Tulsi Gabbard, a Federal Representative from Hawaii, who tweeted Saturday morning: "Small businesses are the heart of our economy, and in Hawaii they make up over 99 percent of the business & employ nearly 270,000 people. Today, Nov. 25 is SmallBusinessSaturday -- let's get out and support local businesses."
Vala Afshar, a digital business experts who wrote "The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence," posted on his twitter that there are 29 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.7 percent of all business in the county.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also joined the promotion team, saying on its official twitter page that over 800 small businesses located across 43 states contributed to the NASA's rocket program.
"Did you know that there are over 1,600 small businesses that are supporting our work and missions? In the 2016 fiscal year, these small businesses received over 5.25 billion U.S. dollars in contracts from us." NASA said.
Even though, the traditional small business's future is not that blooming as McMahon expected, mainly due to the pressure of e-commerce. It is a part of reason why she said the Small Business Saturday's goal is "to revitalize a sense of entrepreneurship in America."
On the Small Business Saturday last year, an estimated 112 million Americans spent a combined 15.4 billion U.S. dollars, three times the sales in 2012, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
However, it was less than the figure registered in 2015, which was estimated at 16.2 billion dollars.
"There is no chain brand here, we are only a small business, we don't have sales on Black Friday," Susan, a staff of local store Catalina Kids in Avalon, told Xinhua, "but I bought lots of Christmas presents online on Thursday."