Local businesses in Jacksonville hope to be busy today

By Jim McCabe on November 30 at 7:00am

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Black Friday gives way to Small Business Saturday today in Jacksonville.

Holiday shoppers are being encouraged to consider small, local businesses for their gift purchasing instead of big box retail stores and online retail outlets. This is the fourth year of Small Business Saturday.

Ginny Fanning is the executive director of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

“Many times the people that they’re doing business with are friends or neighbors or even acquaintances of some sort along the way, and so they’re helping someone they know to be a successful business,” she says. “But also, it’s important to shop here because if we do not support what we have, they won’t be able to keep their doors open, and then we’ll lose those services.”

Fanning points out that by staying in Jacksonville instead of going to bigger shopping areas like Chicago, St. Louis or even Springfield, you’re saving money by paying lower sales taxes.

She says one of the other advantages of shopping locally is the customer service you’ll receive.

“People know you, they want to please you, they want to work with you. We always say, at least give them an opportunity. Perhaps they can match what you found some place else, maybe they can beat the price. If you find it on the Internet, see if they can’t maybe buy it for you locally or order it themselves. Help support the folks that we have here,” Fanning says.

“I think many times people are surprised at what they can find if they just go in and talk to the business owner.”

Fanning also notes that the Chamber of Commerce has the “Chamber Checks” gift certificate program. Chamber Checks are redeemable at over 80 local businesses in Jacksonville, and can be purchased in $5 increments.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 54 percent of all sales in the U.S. are through small businesses, and they provide 55 percent of all jobs.