Quality of life in a community like Pleasanton is closely tied to the local economy, which goes hand in hand with the health of the small businesses in our 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 downtown Pleasanton or your neighborhood shopping center, 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 strategically on the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day, between the shopping crazes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, encourages holiday shopping at small, local, brick-and-mortar businesses.
The first Small Business Saturday was held only nine years ago and the program has grown exponentially since on a national level.
Participation has certainly grown here in Pleasanton as well.
This year, the city government and Pleasanton Downtown Association are partnering on a showcase Small Business Saturday and Downtown Pleasanton Open House event next Saturday (Nov. 30).
Twenty downtown merchants will be taking part, offering special discounts on shopping, dining and services, and lucky customers who visit downtown stores and restaurants will receive balloons, stickers, shopping bags, pet bandannas, pens and more as a thank-you for their support.
The PDA is also sponsoring free photos with Santa Claus at the Museum on Main, 603 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"Buying locally ensures our city stays extraordinary and the place to go," PDA officials said ahead of Small Business Saturday. "Our businesses make us special and give us a strong sense of loyalty for our city. The more unique we are as a community, the more we attract visitors, which benefits everyone."
Shopping in Pleasanton also keeps dollars right here. PDA officials said that for every $100 spent at an independently owned Pleasanton store, $46 stays in the community.
City officials concur.
According to a proclamation presented during the City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Pleasanton has more than 3,300 small businesses, defined as those with up to 150 employees. Collectively, these businesses employ 34,375 people.
"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," the proclamation stated.
"Small Business Saturday is a day to support the small businesses that invigorate our economy and keep our communities thriving," the proclamation added. "The city of Pleasanton ... calls upon all residents to support our small business community by shopping, dining or accessing the services of a small business in Pleasanton."
Support our small, brick-and-mortar establishments and "shop small" on Small Business Saturday next weekend. And share your experiences with the Weekly, city and PDA via social media, using #ShopSmall.
Don't forget that your local newspaper is also a small business. Memberships to the Pleasanton Weekly make a wonderful holiday gift.
When you shop local, you keep the decisions, tax dollars and jobs here and help our community continue to thrive.