How about “Small Business Saturday”
Nov. 26, 2011
Message relayed here in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., by Community Forklift among others:
How about participating in Small Business Saturday?
Big-box stores and big-chain retailers look eagerly to ‘black Friday’—the day after Thanksgiving, which used to be the biggest shopping day of the year, putting stores into the black in accounting terms. In 2011, Black Friday is November 26. The annual shopping spree is much touted, as we know, in mass media. As with the running of the bulls at Pamplona or the possibility of fatal accident at the Indy 500, particularly avid coverage goes to any trampling of Wal-Mart [customers] in the pre-dawn stampede at door opening.
For the second year in a row, a shift in focus is suggested. This is not the annual Grinch-before-Christmas invocation to abjure shopping entirely. Nor is it the annual plea to focus on charity, religion or other worthy causes rather than on consumerism. For Small Business Friday, the objective is more limited–to channel consumerism away from the big and multi-national, toward the small and local. Many grass-roots entities are calling on consumers to use their traditional day-after-Thanksgiving shopping to support local small businesses and non-profits rather than national chains. The same spirit prompted Bank Transfer Day, Saturday Nov. 5, 2011, when thousands of bank customers voted with their feet, to transfer funds from some of the biggest banks to local community banks and credit unions. Shoppers can similarly vote with their feet the day after Turkey Day.
For the netroots, this modest proposal has a web site, a Facebook page, and considerable local online support. It is drawing support from non-profits, from organizations including Women in Public Policy and from other initiatives. American Express, which helped launch the move, has thrown support its way in the form of coupons and special offers as well as publicity. Needless to say, the move, which has attracted significant favorable media coverage, also has its fans among small businesses.
Here in metro D.C., the construction-salvage nonprofit Community Forklift offers construction materials, antiques and plumbing/electrical equipment at reasonable below-market prices. Reclaiming the materials and other items for resale produces several simultaneous benefits. Construction material that would otherwise go into landfill goes to good use, saving the landfills. Objects and materials unneeded by the owner go to charity, boosting the donor’s charity write-offs. Affordable objects and materials provide a lower-priced alternative for construction workers and other consumers stuck in the chains. Budget-friendly, eco-friendly, charity-friendly.
Owners of older houses can particularly benefit. One of the guys at CF–Keith–works in granite, at least on small granite projects. I got a plank of nice granite for about $9, and hired RoxProdux to smooth the edges to make it a shelf for one of my radiators. The granite improves the look of the radiator, the home office has another much-needed shelf, and the top of the radiator is useful aside from being a perch for the cat. A radiator shelf also increases the efficiency of the radiator.
This would be one example of those small businesses we hear about. For somewhat larger projects, the counter at CF also has a binder of local contractors recommended by customers, though without warranty from CF. Grass-roots only.