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Updated: 11/25/2012 08:00:16AM

Small Business Saturday an idea worth supporting

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Tucked in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a shopping holiday called “Small Business Saturday” and we enthusiastically support the idea. After all, it’s small businesses that spark the economics of Polk County.

And, while sales are abound in downtown Bartow and Lake Wales, the latter has taken the opportunity to draw people and draw people’s dollars.

Lake Wales Saturday is starting Make it Magical, a week-long sales-a-thon that is a holiday celebration and sale. Headed up by shop owner Mary Walkup of One of A Kind Courture For Less got the fellow merchants downtown to stay open later and offer sales and her idea has caught on.

“People drive from all over to shop here,” Bob Armington, Village Kitchen Shop owner, said this week. “We have a fun shop and offer great customer service so our customers always leave happy. This is a very quaint historic district and we’re blessed to be down here.”

In Bartow Anthony Milano, the owner of Antiques on Main said not only will he be offering 15 percent off his items but he has been trying to get other merchants on Main to fly the American flag and get their stores noticed to folks as a place to shop for the season. Also the outdoor movie on Friday night can attract people’s eyes to what downtown Bartow has to offer.

While the businesses in Bartow claim their Christmas business picks up the first or second week of December, Lake Wales is working to attract people earlier and get them away from the bigger malls.

On Friday, Nov. 30 from 5-8 p.m. there will be music, holiday refreshments, horse and carriage rides for children and festive family fun in the Arcade buildings, Stuart Avenue, Park Avenue and the Marketplace area of downtown. There will be the Lake Wales High School band and chorus, a PSC vocal ensemble, the Lake Wales Chorale and the Lake Wales Brass.

Many area businesses – especially the smaller merchants in our towns – depend on the holiday season to boost sales after struggling through summer’s sluggish sales volume. Merchants will show their appreciation with more than special offers ... a “thank you” from these folks is genuine and heartfelt.

Most of the smaller businesses in Polk County are owned and operated by people who make their homes here.

They are our friends and our neighbors. Many spent with local businesses stays in the local community. These small businesses provide services, offer employment, pay taxes, and donate to local charities and organizations.

Small Business Saturday is a great way to support locally-owned, small businesses that help keep more money within the community. Here are a few facts:

• Local businesses reinvest in the local economy 60 percent more than chains.

• Small businesses account for 75 percent of all new jobs in this country.

• Small business employs over half of all U.S. workers.

Shopping locally also saves gasoline, time and money. And, especially at this time of year, we all welcome the idea of savings.