Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Region Announces Support for Small Business Saturday

Dozens of small businesses, community leaders and elected officials gathered on the square in Washington today to show their support for Small Business Saturday. According to Vickie Clark, President of the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois, November 26th is Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate the Shop Small movement and drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. This is a national initiative, started by American Express last year.

Clark said there is an effort underway to support the initiative and it is truly a regional partnership that reaches from Canton to Ottawa, from McLean County to Peoria County and all points in between. “We have more than two dozen partner organizations and communities throughout the area involved because we know that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.” She shared some statistics highlighting the importance of small businesses to the region:

· 98% of all business in Greater Peoria are considered small business

· They have generated 64% of net new jobs during the past 15 years

· They employ over half of all private sector workers

· 85% of new job generation comes from small businesses in any economy

Washington Mayor Gary Manier spoke about the importance of small businesses to any community saying “Not only do small business provide the bulk of the jobs in our communities, they provide investment in a community. For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores more than half of it returns to the economy through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.” Mayor Manier encouraged consumers to support the initiative and make a big difference for small businesses.

Cindy Neal, co-owner of Sassy Lady in Peoria Heights talked about her business and how this initiative is a great asset. She said the three co-owners of Sassy Lady each individually own other small businesses and they all know first-hand the difficulties that come with owning and operating a small business. “We know having community support, like what we are getting from this initiative, is invaluable. Small business owners are part of your community, your neighbor and they are your friends …so support them and shop small.”

To learn more about the project, including marketing opportunities and special offers from regional businesses, find Small Business Saturday Central Illinois on Facebook.

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