VIEWPOINT| Get out and support small businesses this season

Today is Small Business Saturday.

It may not have the cachet of Black Friday or the sheer scale of Cyber Monday, but good-old Small Business Saturday should not be forgotten.

Held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, it’s a call for shoppers to travel around their town and visit the small shops that bring vibrance — and much more — to the community.

For small retail stores, one of the keys to success is simply to get people through the door. And that’s what Small Business Saturday is all about. It was founded by American Express as a response to this and other pressing needs for small-business owners.

Small business are a vital and growing part of the economy. The Small Business Association reports that 120 million people work for a small business, which is more than 50 percent of the working population. Since 1990, small businesses have added 8 million new jobs to the economy while large businesses lost 4 million. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 65 percent of all new jobs.

But the benefit of shopping at small, local businesses isn’t just to the economy.

Local shops offer friendly, helpful customer service. Shopping is a good way to get out in the community and connect with people.

And best of all, small shops offer unique items — including handmade gifts — that can’t be found anywhere else.

The Coupeville Chamber of Commerce is once again holding its Small Business Saturday event, Sip and Shop on the Cove.

Participants can dine on appetizers and small bites prepared by some of Coupeville’s best restaurants while sipping wine, beer or cider provided by local purveyors. The event runs 3-7 p.m. Saturday at the Coupeville Rec Hall. Tickets are on sale until they sell out.

Downtown Oak Harbor is lined with small businesses and is always a great place to shop, as are many other pockets of businesses around the community.

Small businesses support the local community. It’s time for us to support them.