The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday. Some may consider it a frivolous event, but that is not true for the many small brick and mortar retailers, not just in Keizer but across the nation.

Small Business Saturday was established in 2010 as a counter to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, in a campaign to get the American consumer to consider options other than big box stores and online for their holiday shopping needs.

The face of retailing is evolving fast. Familiar names are gone or are on their last legs. The indoor mall, ubiquitous across America in cities big and small for decades, is facing tough times, some are even closing, sitting empty. Retailers of every size say that competition from discount stores and online shopping has made the future of their livelihood uncertain.

Big name stores and malls may be under threat, but small businesses are as vibrant as ever. Aside from owning one’s own house, owning one’s own business is a dream of many. Keizerites can find many owner-operated stores in the city. 

Small businesses are the main driver of employment in the nation. Most retail businesses have one or two, if not more employees besides the owner. Those employees rely on these jobs. Employees and owners pay the taxes that fuel the city’s operations.

Frivolous or not, small businesses count on customers from their market area. A majority of retailers look to the holiday shopping season to turn their accounting books black. 

In a world of discount stores and Amazon.com, why would a harried shopper visit store after store? Owners of small retail businesses and their staff are knowledgeable of their inventories. They provide quality, friendly and personal help. They are eager to please their customers—offering free advice and suggestions.

If retailers want you to come into their store to support them on Small Business Saturday, they must do their part. They must assure their store and their staff are clean and tidy. They must assure all customers receive a friendly greeting. Customers are not a guarantee or a right; it is a privilege, and we all must do the utmost to assure customers—old and new—have a great experience that propels them to return.