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Supporting local shopping on Small Business Saturday

After the excess of Thanksgiving and Black Friday specials, an event like Small Business Saturday might seem an afterthought.

But for local stores fighting to secure a share of consumers’ dollars this holiday season against more massive national retailers — never mind the battle against online sales, given Cyber Monday is just around the corner — a day devoted to “shopping local” is great and needed.

Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express as a way for specialty shops to better compete with big-box and online retailers. “Shopping small” encourages spending at businesses within the community to help boost local economies.

On Saturday, a number of businesses in the region will offer specials deals or discounts, a prime opportunity to get some holiday shopping done early without having to spend time online or on the road.

It also encourages the public to become more familiar with what area shops have to offer — really, when was the last time you explored some of the small businesses of Iron Mountain, Kingsford, Norway or Crystal Falls, rather than take your dollars to Marquette and Escanaba, or Green Bay and Appleton in Wisconsin?

“Small businesses are important because they are what drive the economy,” Linnea Marchetti, co-owner of Linnea & Kristine in downtown Iron Mountain, said before a past Small Business Saturday. “It’s your friends and neighbors.”

Yet one lone Saturday to highlight small businesses is not enough. If these local businesses are to survive and continue, residents must be regular customers or they’ll see their options disappear.

We all should support these businesses in our region that make services and products immediately available, without having to wait days for delivery.

It’s not just for convenience — strong local businesses make for a more vital community and keeps dollars circulating in the local economy. So let’s hope Small Business Saturday keys more people into becoming more aware of what’s available and worth purchasing in “shopping local.”

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