by State Senator Page Walley
Thanksgiving is truly a special holiday. Although it did not become official until declared by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Americans have been celebrating this holiday for 232 years. It has evolved over the years to include family reunions, football and parades, but the heart of the holiday still remains acknowledgement to God for his bountiful blessings on our lives and the precious gift of gathering with friends and family to celebrate it.
Thanksgiving is also informally acknowledged as the official opening to the holiday season as shoppers get ready for Christmas. Never has it been more important to support our local businesses by shopping local and shopping small. During the Coronavirus pandemic, our local small businesses have been hit harder than their corporate counterparts. These businesses have struggled since the 2020 shutdown to compete with consumer behavior trends towards online shopping.
Small businesses in District 26 depend on our communities and our communities depend on them. The annual Small Business Saturday is set for November 27. They are the lifeline of Main Street USA and most importantly, of our legislative district’s economy. Let’s take this opportunity to support them as we plan our holiday purchases.
Our small businesses are responsible for generating and providing a significant portion of jobs across the state. That is why they are often referred to as the backbone of our economy. In Tennessee, they employ about half of all private sector employees. In fact, two out of three new net private sector jobs are created by small businesses.
We take pride in our reputation as a business-friendly state that encourages entrepreneurialism and small business success. It is very important that we support local businesses and show our appreciation for the value they add to our communities. Remember, every time we spend money with them it helps to support a family member, a friend, or a neighbor in our communities. Those dollars are then reinvested back into our community time and time again.
If you’ve become accustomed to shopping online, check to see if your local small businesses are fulfilling online or pick-up orders. Many of them have adjusted their business model to provide their customers with more options to shop.
In addition to shopping small, there are other ways to support our small businesses. If you had a great experience at a small business, write a review online, tell a friend, or post about the business on social media. By taking these actions, you can help raise awareness and credibility for deserving local businesses.
Nearly seven in 10 small businesses see the Christmas season as the highest sales opportunity for their business. Let’s support these small businesses as they have been a big asset to our communities. Please join me in shopping small and shopping local on November 27 and every day.
Our district has been blessed with the addition and expansion of small and large businesses this year, with many more to come.
We are truly blessed in Tennessee and have so much for which to be thankful and hopeful. Let me close by wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank God for his blessings upon us.