Opinion

Small business needs support

Even the federal government recognizes the importance of supporting small businesses during the holidays.

This is the second “Small Business Saturday” as proclaimed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Basically, it says what this space has been saying for years: The best way to help your community is to shop locally.

As the SBA points out, small businesses create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. The agency notes that small businesses have generated two out of every three net new jobs over the past 15 years and employ more than half of all private sector workers.

Whidbey Island shoppers hopefully overdosed on malls and megastores yesterday (Black Friday) and can take a more relaxed a approach to shopping today and during the rest of the holiday season.

For example, it’s time to visit downtown Oak Harbor, and not just by driving through. Take advantage of the parking behind Pioneer Way merchants and stroll the newly remade downtown area on its wide, safe sidewalks. Merchants endured months of construction havoc to survive until this shopping season. A good Christmas season is crucial for many of these merchants, who offer everything from clothing and books to jewelry, antiques and dining experiences.

Coupeville is also known for its quaint stores and unparalleled shopping experience just above the waters of Penn Cove. Other shopping opportunities abound on Whidbey Island, from the Greenbank Farm art and cheese stores to the popular shops in Langley, “The Village By the Sea.”

In addition, many artists sell from their homes or in the many galleries scattered around the island. Check the web or your local newspaper for buying opportunities.

Shopping Whidbey Island keeps merchants afloat, allows them to hire new people, and keeps tax dollars right here in Island County where they support transit, police, health and other crucial aspects of our government.

Small Business Saturday is a good idea. But keep it up for the rest of the year.

 

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