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Let's shop small in a big way
by By Liz Mathis State Senator · November 22nd, 2016

Thanksgiving will soon kick off the holiday season and the gift-giving time of year.

You've seen Black Friday ads to shop the big box stores and Cyber Monday promotions to buy online. But my favorite shopping day is Small Business Saturday, which falls between the two on Nov. 26 this year.

Small Business Saturday got its start in 2010 as a way to celebrate our local merchants. Hard-working folks open their shop doors because they have a passion to offer goods, services, and jobs to the community they call home.

Our family owns a small business; we employ 50 people and I have introduced and supported small business legislation. Our small businesses are part of our unique local character-something you can't find anywhere else-and we take pride in that. After all, Linn County and the city of Marion earned official Iowa Great Places status because we're good at cultivating the qualities that make us special.

Shopping local is more than a feel-good idea, though. Studies show that when you buy from independent small businesses, far more money re-circulates locally, building connections and prosperity that strengthen the entire community.

In Iowa, we have a lot of options when we choose to do business locally. More than 97 percent of all employers in our state are small businesses, employing almost half of all Iowa workers, according to the Iowa Small Business Development Center.

So this Small Business Saturday, check out our local shops and restaurants. Go out to eat, buy a gift, or browse a store you haven't checked out yet. You might just find a new place where you'll soon become a familiar face.

While you're at it, share your discoveries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday. That way, we all can discover local treasures we may be missing.

As always, you can reach me at my State Senate email
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