Editorial: Give small businesses a real tribute

Jun. 18, 2013 @ 03:04 PM

Borrowing an idea already tried with success, we encourage everyone to spend $20 on the 20th this month. That’s tomorrow by the way.

There is no blitz campaign, as other cities have done. But from our small corner here, we’re going to put the challenge out anyway.

Why? Because we think the place to do it is a small business, a local shop, somewhere in the Tri-County. Maybe the $20 will be spread over multiple locations — that’s fine. Go for it!

Small Business Week, running Monday through Friday of this week, has been proclaimed by Gov. Pat McCrory. There have been nice press statements issued from him, Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker and from lawmakers like Sen. Kay Hagan among others.

And their words resonate.

Small businesses are what drives North Carolina’s economic engine. Decker said they represent 98 percent of all employers statewide. Hagan put the number at about 800,000 small businesses.

Roughly half of the private-sector labor force in our state is in small businesses.

Impressed yet? Wait. There’s a better number coming.

Last month, the region’s 2012 small business recognitions were handed out. The affair was small, mainly for the winners and their respective chambers of commerce. There was a guest speaker, lots of pats on the back, and well-deserved recognition.

But for each one there, many more were in the Tri-County, each of value and importance to its customers.

Twenty on the 20th has a nice ring to it, and Thursday is the 20th. What the communities who have tried the idea found was money is spent, hopefully with local businesses, and that money stayed within the community and recirculated, from owners back into the community.

The local economy gets a jolt, a shot in the arm, the nod it could use all the time.

Do the math. Vance County has roughly 45,000 population. Considering children and others, if just more than half of the residents in the county spend $20 locally on Thursday, our economy gets a half-million dollar boost with not a single dollar crossing the county line.

Why wait for Raleigh? Or Washington?

We need to look out for each other, and this could be just one small step.