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Small Business Saturday: Boosting the Local Economy

In 2017, there were 8,000 businesses with 10 employees or fewer in Clark County, Wash. (joshuadf/Flickr)
In 2017, there were 8,000 businesses with 10 employees or fewer in Clark County, Wash. (joshuadf/Flickr)
November 21, 2018

VANCOUVER, Wash. – With holiday shopping about to begin in full force, small businesses want Washingtonians to keep them in mind.

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, which began in 2010 and is meant to encourage people during one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year to buy gifts locally.

Colleen Boccia, chief marketing officer at Columbia Credit Union, which has branches in Clark County, says many members have a small business or are employed by a small business. She says small businesses support jobs and wage growth within the community.

"People living near where they also work, or supporting those small businesses by shopping there or being employed there or being employers themselves, create a really interesting, thriving, dynamic economic fabric," she points out.

Rather than succumbing to e-commerce giants such as Amazon, small businesses are growing. In 2016 in Clark County, there were 7,700 businesses with 10 employees or fewer.

Last year, that number grew to 8,000. Those businesses had a combined payroll of more than $900 million, according to Boccia.

Boccia says small businesses also are able to support local culture and offer the chance to find a gift Washingtonians might not find elsewhere.

"The whole idea of unique, individual, personalized gifts are something that our small businesses provide to the shopper community,” she points out. “That's for sure. Small businesses are the core of Vancouver's community. They make up 95 percent of all the businesses in the city."

Columbia Credit Union is joining the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce to choose three chamber members for Small Business Saturday grants worth $2,000 each this year.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA