As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear following Thanksgiving, New Yorkers ought to remember the great deals and service they can find just a short walk from their homes this “Small Business Saturday.”
The national program, championed by American Express, puts a focus on mom-and-pop retailers across America on a weekend when millions of shoppers head out to buy gifts for their loved ones.
“This Small Business Saturday, let’s celebrate the contributions of small businesses to our communities by supporting small in all the ways that we can,” said U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “On Saturday and throughout the holiday season, let’s patronize our small shops, restaurants, theaters, entertainment centers, and more to help support their recovery. It takes hard work, grit, and determination to bounce back from a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and the SBA is proud to do its part to provide entrepreneurs with vital resources. Now more than ever, let’s buy local to support small business owners who are creating opportunity and driving job growth across the nation.”
Though New York is considered the financial capital of the United States and often associated with big corporations housed in skyscrapers across the landscape, the reality is that small businesses largely drive the city’s economy.
Of the more than 200,000 businesses in New York City, according to the de Blasio Administration, 98% of them have fewer than 100 employees. Approximately 89% of all businesses are classified as “very small,” meaning that they employ 20 or fewer workers.
Many of these businesses struggled to survive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and even as the vaccine made the rounds and society began to reopen, the challenges remain. An April report issued by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that 78% of businesses statewide with less than 500 workers reported continued various problems related to the health crisis, such as a steep decline in business.
New York City continues to provide tremendous financial aid and technical support to struggling small businesses across the Five Boroughs, according to Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnel Doris. In an NY1 interview, he noted that the city has so far provided more than $275 million in assistance toward small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“At this stage, we continue to provide the necessary resources for small businesses that they need to come back,” Doris said. “As you come out of the pandemic, a lot of our businesses are struggling financially. Others are struggling with their rent.”
As the city and nation continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are in desperate need of continued support from the communities they serve, and the Small Business Saturday campaign — first launched in 2010 — has traditionally served as a boon for mom-and-pop stores everywhere.
According to the SBA, Americans spent an estimated $19.8 billion last year on Small Business Saturday, benefiting many of the more than 32.5 million small businesses across the country.
For New York City, Doris noted, shopping at a small business provides a profound economic impact not just for the business owners, but also the communities that they serve.
“Every $100 that is spent, $70 stays in that community. That’s important,” he said in the NY1 interview. “You’re helping not only that small business but also the entire community survive and come back.”
The SBS will again promote the city’s “Shop Your City” initiative, launched in May as a way to encourage New Yorkers to do their holiday and every-day shopping at local businesses.
You might also want to consider throwing some of your holiday dollars toward shops located within any of the dozens of Business Improvement Districts located across the Five Boroughs. The BIDs offer various support services for local businesses as well as promotional campaigns to attract shoppers and entice them to keep their business local. View a director of BIDs at nyc.gov/sbs.