Owners Randy and Belinda Smotherman showcase some of the products that will be offered this holiday season at Smotherman's Antiques in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (File photo)
Once your bellies are full of roasted turkey and pumpkin pie, enjoy the evening with your friends and family recalling childhood tales of snowmen and sledding. Then, sleep in Friday morning.
Gone are the days of awakening at an obnoxious hour to spend hard-earned dollars at the nearest big box retailer.
This year, take the pledge to shop local, spend local, eat local, enjoy local and support the local businesses that support you and your community. And you can do it on Saturday after sleeping off the self-induced turkey coma.
Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is perhaps the most important shopping day of the entire year: Small Business Saturday.
It is a day for everyone to support small businesses that invigorate the economy and keep communities thriving.
It began in 2010 when American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
Last year, more than 100 million people came out to shop at independently owned small businesses on the day, according to data provided by American Express.
Now, in its third year, Small Business Saturday is expected to be even bigger, creating a more significant impact on local economies.
“A thriving downtown district where citizens support small businesses and spend time together is a significant driver of economic development that contributes to the overall quality of life in our communities,” Bill Hagerty, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said.
“Celebrating the holiday season in your own community is not only a rewarding way to connect with your historic downtown district, but it can also be a substantial catalyst for the local economy.”
Dollars spent at local shops remain in the community, as compared to those spent at national chain stores, says Main Street Murfreesboro executive director Kathleen Herzog.
She pointed out, for every $100 spent at an independent retailer, $68 dollars return to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. On the other hand, for every $100 spent at a big box retail store, only $43 stays in the community. And purchases made online bring zero dollars to the community.
“It really, really, really matters. It just really matters,” Herzog stresses. “The community impact just can’t be ignored.”
The largest cluster of independently owned businesses is bound to be in downtown Murfreesboro, where “merchants focus on personal service.” Shop owners are neighbors, friends and fellow parishioners who live in the community spend their dollars in the community, as well. They aren’t some stockholder in another state or another country spending profit dollars elsewhere.
“A lot of our shops on the Square have crafted items that are made by local artists and made-in-Tennessee products,” Herzog continued. “Gifts purchased from local stores can put a stamp on our area for the recipient.”
There is something for everyone on your Christmas gift list, from Grandma to the neighborhood dog walker.
Stop by The Write Impression stationary and gift store and pick up the second piece of “Exclusively, Murfreesboro” – a white porcelain china ornament featuring the Rutherford County Courthouse.
Head into Pa Bunk’s Natural Market and Café for some locally farmed goodies and cook your favorite recipe.
Nearby, Bella’s Boutique and Trendy Pieces have a slew of fashionable options for all the ladies in your family – and even a couple of gifts for yourself.
Don’t forget your work-family.
Visit Made in Murfreesboro photography studio for professional photographs of local landmarks to deck the halls.
All that shopping is sure to get your tummy rumbling. Grab a bite to eat at Wall Street, Maple Street Grill or 3 Brothers Deli and Brewhouse and cure that sweet tooth with some chocolates from Country Gourmet.
Better yet, if you visit the Square Friday nights after 5:30 p.m., you can catch a free carriage ride through downtown – Main Street’s gift to the community.
“What’s there not to love about it?” Herzog asks, and she’s right.
So this year, why not spend those hard-earned dollars at local retailers on Small Business Saturday.