Copy of Page 16 Opinion Ann Wheeler Headshot.jpg

It’s no understatement that the past two years have been difficult. Last year, our day-to-day lives incurred unprecedented changes. With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine this year, we are thankfully experiencing a return to a new normal.

Yet there are still lingering challenges associated with the pandemic. Alongside our dedicated first-responders and brilliant health professionals, another community deserves our attention and praise this holiday season: the small businesses of Prince William County.

According to state and county records, Prince William has thousands of small businesses and ranks seventh on the list of most small businesses in the state. Unfortunately, while they are continuing to navigate, retool and pivot due to the pandemic, they are faced with significant supply chain issues. This may be the perfect year to start holiday shopping at your local small businesses.

It’s easy to see some of the benefits of shopping local. Independent retailers have personalized business atmospheres and often carry unique products. Small businesses cultivate relationships with neighborhood consumers on an individual level.

Because of this, “small” businesses often loom large within our community. They shape the character of the county, affecting social trends, tourism and everything in between. That is why when you #ShopSmall, you’re not just supporting neighborhood favorites – you’re supporting our whole community.

Small businesses are also much more likely to reinvest their income into the local community, including spending at other local employers, resulting in higher income for that local business and its employees. Small businesses hire employees from within our locality, and increased business would allow them to create more positions. Additionally, the tax revenue from these local businesses goes to everything from schools to public safety.

This year, Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 27, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a day after Black Friday, and two days before Cyber Monday, making it a key part of our community’s holiday shopping period. Small Business Saturday helps support a diverse range of local businesses that help create jobs, boost the economy and keep communities thriving across the county.

The Prince William Office of Tourism has developed blog posts dedicated to highlighting some of our small businesses, and the potential deals you can take advantage of on Small Business Saturday. Read more about them at www.VisitPWC.com.

So, before you log on to a popular department store website or head to a chain retail location, consider buying that scented candle, bespoke yarn set, ironic (or highly specific) graphic t-shirt, or pastel colored hand-mixer at one of the many independent and small businesses in our county on Small Business Saturday.

Ann Wheeler is chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

(1) comment

Harry Morant

Chairman Ms. Mao, Jr. Has Spoken! "All shall love me and despair!"

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