Thinking big by buying small

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Small Business Saturday offers a boost for local merchants, economy

By Ramsey Scott

While the madness of Black Friday will play out at big-box retailers this week, small businesses in South Jeffco want residents to remember that bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to holiday shopping. 

Saturday is national Small Business Saturday, an event started in 2010 by American Express to give local businesses their own Black Friday sales day. The event calls on shoppers across the country to forgo the big retail chains and spend their money at locally owned and operated stores. 

“Absolutely we’ve felt an impact (from Small Business Saturday),” said Greg Reinke, co-owner of Reinke Bros. and president of the Historic Downtown Littleton Merchants Association. “It’s been one of the best campaigns for small businesses.”

American Express estimated  $5.4 billion was spent at local businesses last year on Small Business Saturday. And that money stays in the local economy, Reinke said. 

“The people who own businesses down here live, work and play in Littleton,” Reinke said. “They’re your friends and neighbors.”

Studies indicate that for every $1 spent at a local store, 45 cents goes back into the local economy. For every $1 spent at a national chain, 15 cents goes back into the local economy.  

John Brackney, CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, said communities need a mix of both big and small businesses. Big operations such as a corporate headquarters for a large company bring wealth into a community that supports small businesses. 

But  the majority of Americans find employment at small businesses, Brackney said. 

“When you’re talking to someone in a small business, it’s likely it’s the owner of the store,” Brackney said. “When you shop local, you know those dollars are going to be put back into the community. That business owner is a neighbor; they’re going to buy from a local coffee shop, buy their home from a local Realtor. The money is recirculated back into our community. In a small way, you’re caring for members of the community.”

Reinke and Brackney said shopping locally has impacts other than economic benefits. There is a uniqueness to the products and a level of expertise in local shops that can’t be found at big retailers, they say.

“The products at local shops are very eclectic and individual. That’s the plus about shopping locally — they’re very individual type of items,” Reinke said.

To find a list of local stores, visit the South Metro Denver Chamber’s website at www.bestchamber.com or Historic Downtown Littleton’s website at www.downtownlittleton


Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.