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How Small is Small for Small Business Saturday?

Written By Scott Joseph On November 26, 2010

small_bizYou may have seen the promotions for Small Business Saturday, a newly designated observance sandwiched between today’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is, um, Monday. Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27, is the creation of American Express’s Open Business division. The sole purpose of Small Business Saturday is encourage people to patronize a local small business (preferably one that accepts American Express, which is offering incentives to both vendors and buyers).

The only thing missing from the full-page newspaper ads and the Facebook fan pages is the definition of what constitutes a small business. I think we all tend to think of a small business as the quintessential “mom and pop” store, situation, in Norman Rockwell style, on a neighborhood corner. Those places hardly exist these days. So what is a small business? Is it independently owned? Is it owned by locals? What about a local person who is listed as the independent franchisee of a sandwich shop? Small business?

Or what about a company like E-Brands? Its locally owned, and it operates restaurants such as Timpano and Samba Room, which have multiple locations across the country as well as unique restaurants like Paradiso 37 at Downtown Disney. Small business?

The statistics offered at the Small Business Saturday Web site say that for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 returns to the community. Presumably, that would suggest that the mom and pop who own the small sandwich franchise are sending some of that money out of the community. So do we shun them tomorrow?

I don’t have an answer. As a friend of mine just said, a small business is like pornography: I know it when I see it. (And let’s not even get into the topic of small pornography business.)

But I think the idea of a day — or maybe a year — where we concentrate on small business owners is a dandy one. So as you make your dining choices for Saturday, keep the small business owners in mind. Here are some of my selections that I think fit the description:

  • Rocco’s Italian Grill
  • K Restaruant
  • The Ravenous Pig
  • Funky Monkey (even as it grows, it’s a small business)
  • Bananas Diner
  • Park Plaza Gardens
  • Trattoria Toscana
  • Tap Room at Dubsdread
  • White Wolf Cafe
  • Paxia
  • Shine Neighborhood Kitchen (as close to the mom-and-pop business as you can get without an actual mom and pop)
  • 903 Mills Market
  • Chez Vincent
  • Cafe de France
  • Nile Ethiopian
  • Paris Bistro
  • Antonio’s La Fiamma
  • And just about every Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Indian restaurant in the area.

And even if you make a mistake and give your money to a not-so-small business, at least you’re spreading money around the community. Perhaps not as much, but it all helps.

What other restaurants would you define as small businesses? Leave a comment below.


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