By Dave Ongie, News Editor
For those wondering why it so important to support local small businesses, Sean Mahoney of Mahoney’s Outfitters has a simple question.
“When is the last time Amazon sponsored your child’s little league team or donated to a local non-profit?”
Indeed, supporting locally owned small businesses is essential to building a strong, vibrant community. Tax revenue generated by small businesses means more money for better schools, parks, roads and other infrastructure.
Moreover, locally owned businesses contributed 350 percent more to local non-profits than businesses that are not locally owned.
With all that in mind, the Chamber of Commerce serving Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County announced a “Buy Different, Buy Early, Buy Local” campaign designed to help bolster small businesses during the upcoming holiday season. We here at the Johnson City News & Neighbor and the Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia have long supported the Shop Local movement, and we are proud to partner with the Johnson City Press and WJHL-NewsChannel 11 to sponsor this initiative.
During a Thursday morning press conference held at the Firehouse Restaurant, Jennifer Keller, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, talked about the strain the COVID-19 pandemic has put on local small businesses and the golden opportunity that lies ahead during the holiday season.
Keller cited a recent poll done by Visa that indicates 69 percent of small businesses see the upcoming winter holiday season as a t op sales opportunity for their company. Additionally, the survey showed that 86 percent of American shoppers are planning to buy gifts from small and medium-sized businesses, and 60 percent of those shoppers plan to do half or more of their holiday shopping at local retailers.
The goal of the “Buy Different, Buy Early, Buy Local” campaign is to transform those intentions into action, which will greatly benefit locally owned businesses. A “Buy Local” website has been established, and local business owners are encouraged to add their business to the site. There will be an option for businesses to add business hours as well as special promotions.
Bob Cantler, President and CEO of the Chamber, noted that 80 percent of the Chamber’s membership is comprised of small businesses. In addition to establishing a presence on the Buy Local website, Cantler encouraged locally owned small businesses to make the most of Small Business Saturday, which falls on Nov. 28 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“The Chamber is compiling a list of one-day offers and will share those with our members and with our media partners,” Cantler said. “Contact the Chamber prior to Nov. 20 and let us know what promo you are offering on this dedicated day.”
The City of Johnson City is also supporting the “Buy Different, Buy Early, Buy Local” campaign. Mayor Jenny Brock was on hand on Thursday morning along with City Manager Pete Peterson, and Brock outlined several reasons why everyone should go out of their way to support local businesses not only during the holiday season, but all year round.
“The unique character of our community is defined in large part by the businesses that reside here,” Brock said. “This plays a big factor in our overall satisfaction with there we live and our overall quality of life.”
To register your business, click here.
View Holiday promotions from local businesses here.