Small Business Saturday is an event started by American Express in 2010 to help bolster the economy and celebrate all that makes our cities, towns and communities the place we want to be, work, live and shop. American Express chose to celebrate small businesses on the day after Black Friday. This year, Saturday, November 25th is Small Business Saturday.
According to American Express statistics, over 99% of all businesses in Illinois are considered small businesses. That’s huge! Ninety nine percent! Who knew? Almost all businesses in Illinois are small businesses! The definition of small business varies by where you look for a definition but it most often is described by the number of employees. In the US less than 5000 employees defines a small business qualification for government contracts which seems large business but, most small businesses in the US are not out looking for government contracts, they’re just trying their best to serve their communities. Most of the general population considers a small business one that is a family owned business with few employees and local ties to the community.
No two ways about it, every business in historic Frankfort is a small business. These businesses are owned and operated on a local level with many of the owners living in Frankfort or the surrounding towns. They see the immediate results of shopping locally. They welcome their customers like family and know the customer’s families and pets. These dedicated shop owners give the kind of service of by-gone eras….service with dedication to customer satisfaction and compassion for their customer’s well being.
With the Christmas holidays just days away, I’m reminded of my favorite movie, Frank Capra’s, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The lead character, George Bailey, the ever optimistic, local building and loan president gives up his honeymoon savings to save the building and loan when the stock market crashes. Throughout the entire movie, George pleads with town folk to have faith and not look so bleakly at the way things are turning out while continuing to be a positive change in the community. Then when the tables turn and he finds himself in trouble, George finally realizes just how many friends and what kind of support he truly has because of a life spent serving his community and helping his patrons out of tough situations. Simply put George gave of himself first, serving his town with compassion and absolute commitment to his friends and neighbors. In the end, those same local patrons rescue George as a result of his dedication to the local community and to each and every one of them.
The businesses in historic Frankfort, so like George Bailey, are dedicated to community success and local involvement. They open their businesses every time with a smile and a positive outlook, consistently offer competitive pricing, unique and unusual items that cannot be found elsewhere and will go the extra mile to give the best possible service; giving of themselves first.
When planning your holiday shopping, think about their contribution on Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and everyday throughout the year. These shop owners will be there waiting with a smile and upbeat energy hoping to serve you the best way possible. So be sure to put Historic Frankfort or your local shopping district stores on your shopping agenda for next weekend.
George Bailey knew when small businesses and local citizens succeed, we all do. It really can be a “Wonderful Life” when you shop local, work local and support local.
And be sure to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” at least once during this hectic holiday season. It will do your heart good and give you a big dose of holiday cheer.