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Editorial: Small businesses are the backbone of the economy

Black Friday began its less-than-subtle expansion, edging hourly into Thanksgiving until you could rush through a Thanksgiving lunch to queue for pre-Christmas deals.

While some resisted cutting National Day, that didn’t mean people objected to expanding access to sales. Some alleged “Black Friday” sales begin days or weeks before anyone roasts a turkey.

Financial advisory and accounting firm Deloitte puts expected sales for Black Friday shoppers at around $500 each. Strike a good door-buster deal on a 70-inch flat-screen, or track down that elusive PlayStation 5, and that could go even higher. In 2021, the total was $33.9 billion, down 1.4% from 2020.

That’s a lot of money. It’s a sizeable chunk of holiday spending that dominates the fourth quarter for retail.

But it’s not the only retail spending. As Black Friday spreads its mark in October in-person and online, including what’s known as Cyber ​​Monday, there’s one day when the math is a little different. The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday.

There are 32.5 million small businesses in the US, accounting for more than 99% of all businesses. About $23.3 billion was spent supporting small businesses in 2021, according to American Express, which launched and drives Small Business Saturday to support the not-so-big business.

Is that as much as Black Friday? Not at all. But there’s an argument that it’s more impressive.

First, Small Business Saturday is just a day, not a distribution goal. Then there’s the fact that they’re the deals without multi-million dollar advertising campaigns. The ones that don’t have anyone lining up outside, the ones that don’t have anyone trampled on, to score this year’s equivalent of the Tickle Me Elmo.

And that shows how much people appreciate the stores where the product is unique.

Perhaps it’s an antiquarian bookshop with a practical charm that Amazon can’t replicate. Maybe it’s the jewelry store on Main Street where the owners know your wife’s birthstone and have something set aside for you that’s perfect for her. Maybe it’s this candy store with unique fudge.

There is a time and a place for the national chains and the online options. The economy depends on a bouquet of different business opportunities. But if they’re the muscle that carries the holidays heavily, small businesses are the backbone that supports not only the economy but also their communities.

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