Community wins when we support small businesses

Everyone loves a winner. Heck, we even applaud those who try their hardest to perform and eek out only the fewest of victories. But, one thing I know for sure is that we revere and adore champions — whether they were crowned yesterday in a blaze of glory or all the way back in 1972.

Champions come in all shapes and sizes, locations and walks of life and provide us that moment of exhilaration that allows us to escape our everyday mundane lives. We rely upon these icons to keep our spirits high, to release our inner emotions and remind us that we should do our best to see the very best in people.

Think about Mo’ne Davis, the scrappy pitcher for the Little League team from Philadelphia who did just that for many of us this summer. She captivated us and lifted our spirits. Even the biggest sports stars in our country weighed in on her success and championship style. And while her team did not advance to the finals or even win the Little League World Series, they captured our attention and our hearts. And she blew us away in the process.

We all know the often-emotional stories of champions overcoming great obstacles and challenges to reach their dreams and achieve their goals. They often tug at our heartstrings, bringing a wellspring of emotion to the competition that usually is unparalleled in life.

I would posit that the owners and employees working in our community’s small businesses are the same type of scrappy competitors who work hard every day, despite immense challenges, to achieve success. They are survivors, seeking to be successful “thrivers,” while totally dependent on the local consumer and his or her purchasing habits.

Small Business Saturday was created five years ago by American Express as a way to shine a spotlight on the championship caliber and winning attitudes of our small businesses. Our country’s economy was built on the backs of small business, and for the past decade the majority of new jobs have been created by small businesses, most notably via our retailers and restaurateurs here in Coral Gables.

What began as an interesting idea has turned into a national movement and our community does it better than anyone else. How do I know this? Well, American Express told us. We have produced a best practice type program that inspires other communities to be neighborhood champions. I am most proud of this because it means our small businesses and members are engaged and part of something bigger than just themselves. They have embraced the movement of thinking big while shopping small.

We all know the sheer power of Black Friday and the imposing prowess of the big box retailers. But, our community — especially Coral Gables — needs Small Business Saturday to compete and to stand tall. And, as their neighbors, we need to support these businesses who are owned and staffed by our friends and fellow community members.

So, as we gather as a community on Saturday, Nov. 29, in support of our local champions, let’s remember to shop small, dream big and soar high.

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