While I’m sure most people know about the Black Friday shopping event that follows Thanksgiving each year, a relatively new shopping “holiday,” of sorts, popped up in the last decade that is celebrated annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday was created almost ten years ago to encourage people to “shop small” and check out their local brick and mortar stores that dot Main Streets across America.
In South Dakota, with 99 percent of businesses classified as small businesses, this event is particularly special. There are over 86,000 small businesses in the state that employ over 210,500 employees, collectively. So, when you support small businesses and the hardworking people who make them possible, you also help support the economy of South Dakota.
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I recognize what these stores, shops, and restaurants mean to our communities. Aside from the economic impact they have on our state, they also help give South Dakota its charm. Almost every city in our state has a Main Street that is home to a number of unique stores, from restaurants to retail. A local downtown coffee shop can serve as a great spot for friends to gather. The town bookstore can be the spot for all generations to share stories and book recommendations. And these are just a few examples.
Small businesses are not just Main Street shops, retail stores, and restaurants. Small businesses are also the construction companies that keep our state’s communities growing by maintaining our local roads and infrastructure. They’re the local dentist, optometrist, and doctor’s offices that ensure our small towns have the services they need. They’re the local insurance companies and law offices – and many other businesses, too numerous to name. Small businesses are what make communities in our state great.
Almost two years ago, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, historic tax reform that has helped small businesses expand their operations, increase wages, add new employee benefits, and hire more workers. In addition, the reduction of unnecessary red tape over the last few years has helped create a regulatory environment that continues to allow businesses of all sizes – small businesses, in particular – to keep thriving. I will continue to look for ways in Congress to ensure our Main Streets remain a prosperous part of our communities, because I know there is always more that can be done.
This holiday season, consider supporting your local communities by “shopping small.” Remember how important these businesses are for our neighbors, friends, and families, and the state of South Dakota.
John Thune represents South Dakota in the U.S. Senate.