The Journal Gazette
Friday, December 11, 2020 7:00 am

Shoppers should think about where their dollars go

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

I receive so many retail-related emails.

So, so many.

I don't have time to pursue every topic offered to me ... but two emails I recently received back-to-back captured my attention. The senders weren't related to each other, but the content certainly was.

Jungle Scout, a consulting firm, said Walmart's online sales doubled on Black Friday this year as compared to last. The retail giant rang up $76 million in sales on that day alone. 

Walmart's five-day online sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday totaled a stunning $264 million. That was 83% more than in 2019, according to Jungle Scout.

Makes sense, I thought. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many consumers to go online and shop early.

No surprise here, so I deleted the email.

Then I opened the next email message and almost gasped.

Alignable, an online network for small business owners, said half of all mom and pop shops are at risk of closing permanently.

Isn't that a punch in the gut? It sure felt like one to me.

So I pulled the Walmart email out of my deleted folder and started writing this blog post.

I'm not hating on Walmart. I shop there sometimes, too.

But they don't get all my money.

This year, more than ever, shoppers should think about where their dollars go.

Over the past 25 years, small businesses created more than 60% of new jobs nationwide, according to the Small Business Administration. An incredible 99.7% of all U.S. businesses are small businesses, according to SBA data.

Consumer spending is a critical part of the U.S. economy, making up an estimated two-thirds.

When we choose where to shop, we choose which retailers will survive. It's that simple.

My purchases alone won't save any business. But, together, we can make a difference.

This makes me think of the starfish story. It goes like this:

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, "What are you doing?"

The youth replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die."

"Son," the man said, "don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make a difference!"

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.

Then, smiling at the man, he said, "I made a difference for that one."

I'm not done with my Christmas shopping. I'll bet you're not either. Let's make a difference for some local retailers.

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