The Best Black Friday Advice of All

Date: November 12, 2014

The following guest editorial was sent to the North Dakota media for use as content for their publications and websites, or as background material for related stories.

The Best Black Friday Advice of All
By Rae Ann Kelsch
Are crowds, frustration, and anxiety any way to start the holiday season?
 
That is almost certain to occur on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when people get up in the middle of the night, wait in the parking lot or stand outside in the freezing cold, waiting for the doors open.  Then comes the running, the pushing, and the shoving to just to get the so-called, door-buster deals.
 
That is when your anxiety level reaches cruising altitude, watching customers in a tug of war over a television or a computer or those customers that grab everything and stack up their shopping carts.  Then there are the long lines to get to the checkout counter that wrap around the store two or three times.  Then when you get close to the register there are those individuals who don’t have their cash, or credit cards, ready in their hands, making you wait while they fumble through their purses and wallets.
 
If you don’t want to begin the holiday season with this frustration and anxiety, I have the best Black Friday advice of all: Wait a day, and shop Small Business Saturday. The economy and your own blood pressure will thank you.
 
The concept is simple: instead of one-stop shopping at the nearest big box store or giant mall, or sitting at home and ordering online, you shop at small, locally-owned businesses for things you simply can’t find anywhere else. Instead of dealing with temporary workers who don’t know the merchandise, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing directly with the owner, who cares very much about making you happy, so you come back time and time again.
 
We are talking about places like Ritz Gallery & Gifts in Linton; Spiral Light Candle Co. in Hillsboro; Home of Economy in Grand Forks; Ace Hardware is Bismarck; This, That & More in Garrison; Stix-N-Twigs in Dickinson; Scheels-Fargo in Grand Forks and Bismarck. On and on the list could go and include mom-and-pop shops in every city and hamlet in North Dakota, establishments that have been in business for decades, many of them family owned.
 
Want even more good reasons to choose Main Street over the mall?
 
When you shop at a chain store, most of the money goes back to some corporate office somewhere, but when you shop on Main Street, most of that money stays on Main Street.
 
Some small-business owners, instead of laying people off, have cut their own salaries to keep their full complement of employees. Others have dipped into savings or taken out second mortgages to keep their doors open, or to avoid cutting back employee hours. Do you think large out-of-state corporations act in this manner?
 
Since its beginning in 2010, Small Business Saturday has yielded big dividends for America’s and North Dakota’s economy. Last year, shoppers spent $5.7 billion at locally-owned shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey conducted by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. Last year’s total marked a 3.6 percent increase over 2012’s event.
 
This summer, Gallup asked people to tell it how much confidence they had in a variety of American institutions. Small business came in second at 62 percent, just behind the military at 74 percent, and way ahead of big business, which had only 21 percent. A few years ago, the Pew Foundation found small businesses the most trusted group in America.
 
Alarmingly, however, a Brookings Institution report issued this year claimed a 30-year low in American entrepreneurship. Holiday shopping is a needed shot in the arm for the small-business owners who employ more working Americans and generate almost every new job, and it starts with you.
 
Of course there are things big box stores have that Main Street shops don’t, but you might be surprised at the variety bricks-and-mortar stores on Main Street do have. So how about starting a new shopping tradition this year? Make the Friday after Thanksgiving just an ordinary Friday. Start your holiday shopping Saturday on Main Street, and what you can’t find there, go to the malls later. That new economic ecosystem will benefit everyone.
 
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Rae Ann Kelsch is North Dakota state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business.

Related Content: Small Business News | North Dakota

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Wait a day, and shop Small Business Saturday. The economy and your own blood pressure will thank you.

NFIB/North Dakota State Director Rae Ann Kelsch

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