By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — Small businesses are hoping to cash in on some of the holiday shopping frenzy that kicked off on Thanksgiving in New Hampshire.
Gov. Maggie Hassan made it official earlier this week, proclaiming tomorrow “Small Business Saturday” in New Hampshire and encouraging residents to shop locally this holiday season. It’s all part of a national initiative to support small, locally owned businesses.
Seventeen percent of Granite State residents expect to spend more on holiday shopping this year than they did in 2012, according to a poll released earlier this week by New England College in Henniker.
Even more of the 675 state residents polled opposed store openings on Thanksgiving, some 70 percent. Of those, 53 percent said they “strongly disagree” with retailers opening for business on the holiday.
Whether that translates into residents heading to Main Street tomorrow remains to be seen.
There was some economic optimism in the poll results. Forty-three percent of those responding said they expect the economy to improve.
That may translate into more holiday spending, but, maybe not. Fifty-seven percent of those polled said they expect to spend less this year.
Whatever they spend, Hassan and the U.S. Small Business Administration hope they drop some cash at local businesses.
“New Hampshire’s small businesses drive our economy forward, creating good jobs and strengthening our communities,” Hassan said earlier this week. “By recognizing Small Business Saturday, we can help support those local businesses who contribute so much to our economy and communities. As we enter the holiday shopping season, I encourage New Hampshire residents to support our economy by shopping at local stores and businesses throughout our state.”
The country has 28 million small businesses, according to the SBA, and half of all working Americans own or work for a small business.
This is the fourth year for the effort. In 2012, an estimated $5.5 billion in sales went to small, independent business, according to the SBA.
“Eighty-six percent of consumers in the United States have small businesses in their community that the consumers would miss if the small businesses closed and 93 percent of consumers in the United States agree that it is important for people to support the small businesses that they value in their community,” Hassan said in her proclamation. “Ninety percent of consumers in the United States are willing to pledge support for a ‘buy local’ movement.”