Once the turkey is packed in the refrigerator and Uncle Bob is passed out on the couch, it’s time for one last holiday tradition — Black Friday.
Considered the official start of the holiday season, national chains step on top of each other offering almost unheard of deals just so you’re camped outside their store before sunrise Friday morning.
But once the dust settles, and you’re happy with that heavily discounted cappuccino maker, it’s time to remember businesses that truly make up the heart of our neighborhoods and community — small businesses.
While we might be familiar with the Targets and Best Buys of the world, the fact is, 99.8 percent of all New York businesses are small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. They employ 4 million people, which makes up a little more than half of the state’s total labor force.
Yet, the growth of small business is on the decline. During the second quarter of 2016, small businesses in New York grew just 0.1 percent — far slower than the national growth rate of 1.2 percent.
That represents 14,524 businesses that started, but also 13,359 businesses that disappeared. That created a net gain of just 1,165 businesses, adding less than 2,500 jobs.
If we travel the streets of Riverdale and Kingsbridge, we can see the change as some familiar names disappear. At the same time, we can find some optimism that new stores are coming in to take their place.
And it’s our duty as good citizens of our neighborhood to make sure we frequent those businesses not just on “Small Business Saturday” this weekend, but every day.
“Small Business Saturday,” which comes the day after Black Friday, is a newer phenomenon founded by a company that is far from being a small business: American Express. The idea, however, was to help shift focus back to the stores that have stayed with us through thick and thin.
It’s not that we shouldn’t shop chain stores. We should. They absolutely contribute to our economy. But so do small businesses. And considering 50.5 percent of our working population depend on small business for their livelihood, it makes it more important — now more than ever — to darken those doorsteps as much as we can.
Enjoy that delicious Thanksgiving turkey, watch lots of football, and do your part to let small businesses know you’re thankful they’re here, too.