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Editorial: 'Shop small' -- Keep jobs, dollars and decisions local

Tomorrow marks Small Business Saturday, so visit those shops around town

Quality of life in a community is tied to the local economy, which is tied to the health of the small businesses in that community.

In the age of e-commerce, acquisitions and mergers making large retailers into giant monopolies, small businesses are struggling to survive. These establishments, like the ones that line the streets of downtown Pleasanton, add diversity to our otherwise homogeneous, chain store, online-impersonal world. They support the community and other small businesses, and keep the decisions and dollars local.

The effects of small businesses failing are widespread and undesirable. When a business fails, owners and employees lose their income, landlords lose tenants, buildings sit empty and the community loses sales tax dollars.

That is just the start since there is a ripple effect. When people are unemployed, they spend less, which creates a vicious circle of less money spent in small businesses, making them less viable and more apt to fail, putting more people out of work. Through all this the local governments lose sales tax revenue they use to run the municipalities.

"Small Business Saturday," held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, encourages holiday shopping at small, local, brick-and-mortar businesses.

The first Small Business Saturday was held only seven years ago and it has grown exponentially since. American Express, which sponsors the event annually, reports that last year 112 million shoppers "showed their love for their favorite spots, and spent a reported $15.4 billion at small businesses" across the country.

According to a proclamation presented during the Nov. 7 City Council meeting, Pleasanton has more than 3,500 small businesses, defined as those with up to 150 employees, and make up about half of the licensed businesses in Pleasanton. They employ more than 32,000 people collectively.

The proclamation reads, "... the owners and operators of small businesses foster economic growth through the creation of jobs and the production of goods and services for our community and around the globe; and ... the City of Pleasanton supports these businesses as a critical component of restoring and rebuilding a healthy economy, as the perseverance, hard work and resourcefulness of small business owners form the foundation of our prosperity and success."

Support our small, brick-and-mortar establishments and "shop small" on Small Business Saturday tomorrow. When you buy and dine local, you keep the decisions, tax dollars and jobs here and help our community continue to thrive.

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