Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 27; here are ways newspapers can support local retailers and artisans

Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 27 this year, is traditionally an opportunity to support local businesses and artisans. It's more important than ever this year, Abha Bhattarai writes for The Washington Post: "Small retailers and manufacturers, already crushed by large national brands during the pandemic, are being disproportionately walloped by delays, shortages and other supply chain disruptions ahead of the holidays. In many cases, they’re losing out to giants like Walmart and Amazon, which are spending millions to charter their own ships and planes to move merchandise. Independent shop owners, who have no such recourse, say they’re often the last in line for products because manufacturers prioritize larger, more lucrative contracts."

Small businesses and local artisans are often the lifeblood of a local newspaper's advertising budget, as Malheur Enterprise Editor and Publisher Les Zaitz noted in his eastern Oregon weekly. And consumers are eager to support local businesses during the pandemic: 72% of people in a recent survey said they plan to make more of an effort to shop locally this Christmas. Here are some ways local papers can promote Small Business Saturday:

  • Write an editorial encouraging readers to buy more Christmas gifts from local businesses and craftsmen.
  • Print tips for small businesses to promote themselves for SBS this year.
  • Invite small businesses to be listed in a local gifts guide, online or in print, for readers' convenience. Don't forget to check local farms to see if they have shops or sell tours or experiences.
  • See if there's a local holiday market being held nearby and promote it.
  • If there isn't a holiday market, why not organize one? Papers can charge vendors a small booth fee, and can hold the event at a local community center or school gym. Such events are not too difficult to organize, especially if the venue already has folding tables or vendors can supply their own. Permits are usually easy to obtain, but check with the local government, especially if vendors will be selling food or drinks. Bonus: this can generate quite a bit of goodwill for the paper locally.

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