Weekly Columns

Our holiday shopping habits have changed over the years. Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving to unveil the season’s sales, we’ve seen more stores offering online deals, advertising the big bargains days in advance of Black Friday and opening their doors before the Friday morning rush. While the Friday after Thanksgiving has long been the unofficial kick-off to holiday shopping, recent efforts are continuing that momentum into the weekend. Since 2010, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been known as Small Business Saturday.

The idea behind this initiative is to promote and encourage us all to shop at our locally-owned small businesses. It’s paying off; more shoppers are spending money at small businesses. According to 2016 results by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express an estimated 112 million people reported shopping at a small business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a 13 percent increase from 2015.

Money spent at our small businesses gets reinvested in the community and draws attention to local merchants. By taking the small step of shopping locally this holiday season, we can make a big impact on our communities.

To highlight the many important contributions of our local businesses and neighborhood retailers, I cosponsored the Senate-passed resolution in support of Small Business Saturday. It’s important to recognize the significant contribution our small businesses make to our economy. Arkansas is home to nearly 250,000 small businesses that employ more than 400,000 people. Nationwide, small businesses account for 55 percent of all jobs in our economy and have provided 66 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. since the 1970s. I am committed to creating a climate where businesses can succeed and consumers feel confident about spending their hard-earned income.

This can be accomplished by preventing the inefficient, ineffective and unnecessary regulations that are keeping our small businesses from expanding and reforming our tax code to make it more fair and easier for all Americans. NFIB, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, supports the tax reform legislation that recently passed the House of Representatives as well as the Senate’s plan. These bills provide tax relief to small business owners which allows them the opportunity to invest more money in their businesses and employees. 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and think of what we’re thankful for, add small businesses to the list. They are owned and operated by our neighbors, friends, church family and budding entrepreneurs who want a piece of the American dream. We can do our part to help them thrive. 

Let’s continue the success of Small Business Saturday and on Saturday, November 25, shop at our locally owned businesses and retailers.