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Small Business Saturday encourages shopping small, local amid pandemic

A sign encouraging shopping at small businesses can be seen on the counter inside Java Cherry Coffee Shop in Citrus Heights. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
With small businesses in Citrus Heights around the country struggling during COVID-19, many are hoping for a financial boost this Saturday from the 11th annual “Small Business Saturday” — a day designed to encourage consumers to support small, local businesses in their communities.

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as an initiative heavily promoted by American Express, and is now sponsored by a wide coalition of organizations and businesses, falling on the day after Black Friday each year. The City of Citrus Heights has joined the effort this year, promoting Small Business Saturday with ads on social media asking residents to take a “Love Local” pledge for their holiday shopping.

Louise Hansen-Cordray, owner of Java Cherry Coffee Shop on Van Maren Lane, said she’s seen some ups and downs over the past nine months with COVID-19, but her core customer base has helped her survive.

“I hope to see that people support small businesses this Saturday — or any day,” she told The Sentinel. “Look around and find a small business: you might find out that you like it a lot.”

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

With many small businesses this year struggling with COVID-19 shutdowns and decreases in foot traffic, American Express has ramped up its efforts. An article published on the company’s website highlights “the community impact of shopping small,” and includes interviews with small business owners across the country, discussing the impact of COVID-19 on their business.

“It was never this black and white,” says one business owner, describing economic hardships this year. “If you don’t patronize that shop on the corner, or that restaurant downstairs, or the florist around the corner, they won’t be there.”

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