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It’s become holiday tradition.

Many people will begin the Christmas season by rushing off to malls and big box retailers in larger cities — or by hovering over computer keyboards — Friday morning. Some of us will not even wait that long, giving our Thanksgiving feast just moments to settle in our stomachs before rushing off to find those pre-Black Friday deals.

But there’s another tradition we would like you to indulge – or consider starting. That’s remembering hometown, smalltown retailers — both for their convenience and variety, but also for the difference they make in the community.

That is the idea behind Small Business Saturday, which will be observed this Saturday, Nov. 30.

Created in 2010 by credit card company American Express, Small Business Saturday aims to encourage shoppers to support small, local, independent businesses. It has proven to have staying power, with participation in the event growing every year.

Litchfield Chamber of Commerce is registered with American Express to be Small Business Saturday Neighborhood Champions.

Shopping at small, local businesses allows them to thrive, which in turn helps the entire community be more successful, according to the American Independent Business Alliance, or AMIBA. Money spent at local businesses, like shops and restaurants, tends to stay in the community.

Small businesses employ local residents, who pay taxes and spend money locally themselves.

The private research firm Civic Economics found that, on average, 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated, compared to less than 14 percent of that spent at chain stores. Similarly, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance conducted a study in several small communities in Maine in 2002 and found that every $100 spent at local independents generated $45 of secondary local spending.

An American Express commissioned 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study found that for every dollar spent at a small business in the United States, about 67 cents stays in the local community.

It’s a message that comes through loud and clear on Small Business Saturday.

A survey conducted by American Express in 2017 suggests that 90 percent of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community. That year, there were 7,500 Neighborhood Champions across all 50 states, with an estimated 108 million consumers reporting shopping or dining at a local, independently owned business on Small Business Saturday. Since its inception, spending has reached an estimated $103 billion — on just nine Small Business Saturdays.

So, start a new tradition this year and think “small” this weekend while shopping to fulfill your Christmas wish lists.

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