Thinking Small and Local in Moses Lake

Excerpts from Columbia Basin Herald article by Rodney Harwood . See full article including small business statistics here:

MOSES LAKE — With counterparts like Black Friday and Cyber Monday convincing shoppers to spend big money on big deals during the holiday season, the American Express Corporation launched the idea that Americans need to think small.

Small Business Saturday is now in its sixth year and encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses that are small and local. Founded in 2010, the event takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year it will be held on Nov. 26 and Columbia Basin small-business merchants are gearing up for one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

“It’s a good way for people to see what’s in their local stores if they are not familiar. A lot of people gravitate to the mall and sometimes downtown is not a destination,” said Allan Peterson, a certified business advisor with the Washington Small Business Development Network. “It provides at least that one day that makes downtown a destination. When I was in retail, I always told my employees Christmas sales are our chance to gain regular customers for the next year. Because somebody that’s never been here will come in during the season and it’s our time to capture that customer for the next year.”

Vern Jenkins and Alan Peterson in Gunpo South Korea

Vern Jenkins and Alan Peterson in
Gunpo South Korea

According to Newsweek magazine, the Millennial generation (born between 1977 and 1994), grew up in an electronics-filled, increasingly online and socially-networked world. They’re the generation that has received the most marketing attention because they are the most ethnically diverse generation. Millennials tend to be tolerant of difference, the survey said.

To attract that very market, Vern Jenkins, a trade specialist with the Washington Small Business Development Center, said business owners need to be active on social media in promoting their product.

“Throughout the Columbia Basin there is a rich variety of businesses. They have ties to the community whether local business with local sales or a local business with international sales bringing in money and recognition that way,” Jenkins said. “I like to remind small businesses, in this day and age, because of the internet, the world can shop local. Buyers from foreign countries will come and buy your produce because they found you (on the internet). That is the value I get excited about. We can get money from our own community, which is fine. But when we get it from an outside entity that’s bringing money into our community, that adds to jobs and it adds to the value of local products.”