by ALFREDO ORTIZ
The holiday season is kicking into high gear as shoppers scour shopping centers and online retailers to find the perfect gifts for their friends and loved ones. While big box retailers or stores with well-known brands may be the initial stops on these shopaganzas, Americans shouldn’t forget to check out what the small businesses that line Main Streets across the country have to offer.
Unlike many of the mega-stores, these cozier establishments offer a wide array of unique products that could be difficult to find anywhere else. Whether that be a custom pet bed for the family dog, locally sourced recipe ingredients, home decorations for mom, or a sports jacket from the hometown tailor for dad, small businesses have you covered.
And if online shopping is what suits your fancy – a growing preference among American consumers – products from small businesses can be shipped right to your front door. In fact, the online retail giant, Amazon, just launched a new section of their website that will make this easier than ever.
“Amazon Storefronts” is a new platform that connects online shoppers to over one million products sold by 20,000 small- to medium-sized businesses located across the country. While this is only a fraction of the products and services sold by America’s small businesses, these types of platforms are only expected to grow in size and in popularity over the coming years.
But why choose to visit small businesses this holiday season, rather than follow the tsunami of shoppers flooding the Walmart’s and Target’s of the world?
Well, one reason is jobs.
There are over 30 million small businesses across the country and they provide employment to 60 million people. That’s nearly half the entire U.S. workforce. More importantly, they are responsible for two-thirds of all new job creation. Without these small business entrepreneurs, the economy would be in ruins as many Americans would be out of work and many more would lose their shot at the American Dream.
This is why policies and individual actions that encourage small business growth are so important.
One example is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed and signed into law late last year. The legislation included tax relief measures that allowed small business owners to keep more of their own earnings and invest it back into their employees, business, and community. In fact, more than 700 businesses have already reported doing so.
The current administration has also made it a priority to cut government red tape – giving small business owners more freedom to operate as they see fit.
During this holiday season, help build on the success small businesses have experienced over the past year by choosing to shop small, rather than big. The millions of small businesses across the country, their employees, the broader U.S. economy and your community will thank you for it.