As yet another wave of the pandemic wreaks havoc on our nations’ health and economy, a great way to support each locally is to "Shop Small and Shop Safe." Small Business Saturday is a movement started by American Express in 2010, just after the Great Recession, which encourages holiday shoppers to shop at “small” locally-owned businesses.

According to the 4th Quarter 2017 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, 55% of retailers report that their overall profit depends on the holiday season. According to a September 2020 report by Fundera, small businesses employ 58.9 million people, or 47.5% of the workforce. And for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community, as reported in Amex-commissioned 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study.

Those are all good reasons to shop “small” for the holiday, but here is one reason why supporting local businesses this holiday season is more important than ever. Sixty-two percent of U.S. small businesses reported they need to see consumer spending return by the end of 2020 to stay in business, according to the Small Business Recovery Research conducted by American Express. If we want our favorite local businesses to remain in our communities when the pandemic is over, we need to spend money with them now.

That is why your regional SBA resource partners are encouraging everyone to "Shop Small and Shop Safe" this holiday season. Take advantage of new curbside pick-up options that your favorite shops have implemented. Many local shops have put some inventory on their website or are sharing it on their social media platforms so that you can shop ahead of time, decreasing your time in the store. Gift cards to your favorite pubs and restaurants allow your loved ones a delicious evening of take-out at a later date. Another great gift idea is to pre-pay for a month of snow removal or pay for a newspaper subscription.

This year, we encourage everyone to share the love with your community and those you care about by shopping small and shopping safe.

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Haut, Kennedy, Magness, Smith, Carlstrom, Dauer, Carver and Klug are representatives of the Small Business Administration, the Women's Business Center, SCORE and the Veterans Business Outreach Center.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.