With Thanksgiving in the past, the thoughts of shoppers are now on Christmas.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become common terms for big shopping days as consumers rush to purchase those special gifts for loved ones.
They certainly have plenty of options as that final countdown to Christmas gets under way.
One we hope they seriously consider comes up in one day, when consumers are encouraged to show their support of local small businesses and “shop small” for Small Business Saturday.
American Express launched this special day in 2010 with the idea that people could make a difference by supporting small businesses.
The focus is on businesses that are locally owned. Statistics show that 52 cents of every dollar that is spent at a local business stays in the community.
“We have a reputation of giving back not only with our finances but with our time,” Louis Spatafore, co-owner of Friendly Furniture Galleries in Fairmont, said of small businesses in general. “We tend to volunteer and do what we can to make our communities better. You don’t always find that with outside interests.”
Consumers, at the same time, can take advantage of unique offerings and personal service.
Small Business Saturday is getting a push from many levels.
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce believes that “all trade is good trade,” said Steve Roberts, president of the organization, but is especially interested in helping small businesses.
“We try to remind people that buying it here is always a good idea,” he said. “Our economy is about 70 percent a consumer economy, and when people do their holiday shopping locally they support their local economy and they help make sure that people have jobs and have the goods and products that the consumers most want.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is urging consumers to visit the state’s local businesses throughout the holiday season.
“Local merchants provide important jobs, goods and services,” he said in a press release. “West Virginia’s small businesses play a vital role in our state and local economies. Small business is big business in West Virginia, and I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to support small businesses on Nov. 30.”
Small businesses make up 96 percent of employers in West Virginia, according to the state Development Office. Also, the employees of small businesses account for 53.1 percent of West Virginia’s private-sector labor force.
The National Federation of Independent Business and American Express recently conducted a nationwide survey to find out small business owners’ plans to try to bring consumers into their shops this holiday season, and they plan to be aggressive.
According to the survey, 67 percent will offer discounts, 39 percent will work with other small businesses on special community events, and 36 percent will offer coupons. In addition, 32 percent of small businesses owners indicated that they were beginning their promotions for the holidays earlier this year, and 21 percent intended to have more staff on hand to work on Small Business Saturday.
In Marion County, Small Business Saturday has a record of success.
Last year, members of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce were very happy with the turnout in their local stores, said President Tina Shaw.
“I think it’s wonderful that it’s become such a national event that now small businesses get recognized ... for at least one day during the holiday season,” she said. “Small businesses are the bread and butter of your community, so they create jobs.”
Rana Taylor, program manager for Mannington Main Street, appreciates efforts to place a focus on what is available from local merchants.
“Any time you can create something different to help your town, those dollars are staying here,” she said. “Any time you can create an event like that that helps the businesses, it’s a good thing.”
Dealing with local merchants on a consistent basis — not just Small Business Saturday — is a win-win proposition. Our locally owned businesses and communities as well as consumers can benefit nicely.
We encourage shoppers to consider the option seriously as they go about their Christmas shopping and make purchases throughout the year.
With Thanksgiving in the past, the thoughts of shoppers are now on Christmas.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
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