According to the Small Business Administration, 99% of businesses in South Dakota are small businesses. That includes everything from family farms to specialty boutiques.
In Sioux Falls, Mayor Paul TenHaken issued a formal proclamation recognizing tomorrow as Small Business Saturday.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving has been an occasion to support local and small businesses for about ten years. But after the press conference at Luca—an Italian leather goods store in downtown Sioux Falls--Mayor TenHaken practiced what he proclaimed.
“Well! We’re here, you know, proclaiming small business Saturday, and while we’re having the press conference I’m seeing this rack of belts over there and I’m like, ‘Those are some nice lookin’ belts!’”
Mayor TenHaken says this is an example of the drawbacks to only ordering online.
“One is, I wouldn’t have a chance to fit it on. Didn’t know if it would work, colors may be different than what I thought in real life. Here I know. I just met Luca. Luca’s a great guy, Luca’s got some health problems. I know when I’m supporting Luca I’m supporting his family, I’m supporting his kids, I’m supporting the community. I mean, you can’t put a price on that.”
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce alone has two thousand members—60% of them have 10 or fewer employees. Dr. Dave Kapasca is the interim president of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber. He says shopping locally in Sioux Falls does more than check items of a Christmas to-do list.
“You can also enjoy the sculpture walk, enjoy coffee, tea, wine, lunch, whatever downtown, get some steps on your FitBit and really support a community resource here.”
For instance, Luca’s shop has been locally run since 2014 and located in downtown Sioux Falls since February. The store manager Deya Thorin says she loves being downtown and getting to know customers.
“I mean, they leave with a hug from me, because I always hug them and talk to them. And they leave—you know, they come in as a stranger but leave as friends.”
Small businesses employ more than 85,000 South Dakotans.