On Thursday, the verge of one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday, there was an urge to camp out in front of big box stores for the door buster sales that started today. Some shoppers started on Thursday afternoon, after Thanksgiving dinner was checked off, to shop at stores that are trying to beat other big box stores. The shopping pace was warp speed.

Where were the small businesses in the middle of this shopping frenzy? Those small business owners stayed home with their families on Thanksgiving and encouraged their employees to stay home as well.

Frankly, those small business owners don’t have the energy, the time, or the money to try to compete with those outrageous bargains.

What has happened, thanks to American Express’s effort, is those small business are competing with the big stores by joining in a national effort called Small Business Saturday, which takes place the day after Black Friday. American Express has found that small businesses are important to the economy of America. These small businesses also represent great potential for American Express.

According to well-known authorities, small businesses employ more than 50 percent of all employees working in the private sector. They account for 45 percent of private payrolls and generate 60 to 80 percent of all new jobs in the past decade.

These small businesses are important to the national economy, but more importantly, they are vital to our local economy.

When you look at the great accomplishments of our local cities, they weren’t made by the owners and managers of large chains. Accomplishments such as Metroplex Hospital, Central Texas College, and the origination of TAMUCT were spearheaded by local small business people.

Look at the names on the school boards, city councils and county commissioner courts and you will find small business owners rendering valuable service.

Small Business Saturday is a great day for more bargains, but it is also a way to support small businesses. Those are the businesses that provide sponsorships for little league teams, buy ads in church cookbooks, give donations for elementary, junior high and high schools organizations and provide a local tax base for our cities, schools and counties.

Shop Small Business Saturday. They need the business and will give you the best service. Make your pocketbook do more than just pick up a deal.

Les Ledger has owned several small businesses in Copperas Cove and is currently a business instructor at Central Texas College.

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