By Jared Hunt
Charleston Daily Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Local retailers have a message for people as they continue shopping this holiday season: Shop small.
Small businesses, that is.
For the fourth year in a row, local businesses are hoping to capitalize on Small Business Saturday, a promotion launched by the American Express credit card company in 2010 to encourage shoppers to look beyond the large retail chains.
In the four years since it was launched, merchants, industry groups and politicians have all climbed on board to endorse the Saturday shopping event as an alternative to traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.
Even in the entrenched hyperpartisanship of Washington, bipartisan majorities in Congress and President Barack Obama have come together to endorse the event.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economy – half of America’s workers either own or work for a small business,” said Judy McCauley, the West Virginia District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said small business is big business in West Virginia.
“Local merchants provide important jobs, goods and services,” Tomblin said.
According to the state Development Office, small businesses represent 96 percent of all employers in the state and employ 53 percent of the state’s private-sector labor force.