SPOKANE, Wash.—When the parents’ club needs auction items for the elementary school fundraiser, who do they call? When the youth sports league needs sponsors to help with field repair and maintenance, who do they call? What about community-based nonprofits focused on women and children, animals, habitat protection, cultural enrichment or economic development? Who do they call when they need donations?
Small business owners in every community across the state and across the country.
Saturday, Nov. 25, is Small Business Saturday and the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) encourages shoppers to pay it forward and pay it back by shopping at the small businesses that support their communities in myriad ways, including providing jobs, generating sales tax revenue and giving of cash, time or goods.
“Small businesses are the mainstay of our community. The services they provide, and the many ways they support people and organizations help build stronger, thriving communities,” said Sheryl McGrath, state director of the Washington SBDC. “We know small businesses are job creators, but they are so much more and contribute directly to the quality of life that Washingtonians appreciate so much.”
According to a 2022 survey by MetLife and U.S. Chamber Small Business Index, more than 90 percent of small business owners reported giving back to their community in some way in the past year. Businesses reported buying local and encouraging others to do the same, offering discounts to specific groups, such as veterans and senior citizens, and donating goods or services to a local event or organization.
Adventures Underground, a bookstore and shop for music, comics, games and hobbies, in Richland, Wash., designates one local nonprofit every month for their Round Up for Change program. Past recipients have included Senior Life Resources, Columbia Industries and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County.
“We give back to our community because those are the people who make us what we are,” said Amanda Devine, owner of Adventures Underground. “We decided a long time ago that the whole point of opening the store was to create a place where people could come and make connections and find a home.” After 16 years in business, she said, they have customers who started coming as children and now bring their own children to the store.
Adventures Underground is a shining example of a business that gives back and contributes to community. As a former small business owner myself, and director of a non-profit organization that assisted under-served communities, I have been on the giving side and asking side of small businesses. Having that understanding amplifies my wholehearted appreciation and gratitude for Adventures Underground and all small businesses who give back.
Small Business Saturday, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was initiated by American Express in 2010 and has been co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) since 2011. The Washington SBDC is a resource partner of the SBA and is the nation’s oldest and largest publicly supported technical assistance program for entrepreneurs who want to start, grow or buy/sell a business.
Washington SBDC business advisors are located in communities across the state to help business owners with diverse challenges from applying for a loan or managing cash flow to setting up a marketing plan or creating an employee manual. The Washington SBDC is hosted by Washington State University and receives funding support from the SBA, Washington State University, Washington State Department of Commerce and also from community colleges, economic development groups and civic or business groups.
For more information about the Washington SBDC, go to www.wsbdc.org.
MEDIA NOTE: If you are looking for a small business owner to profile in advance of Small Business Saturday, your local SBDC business advisor is a great resource for finding people who are contributing to their communities in truly remarkable ways. You can find the advisor in your area at www.wsbdc.org