OKEECHOBEE – At their Nov. 12 meeting, Okeechobee County Commissioners declared Nov. 28 as Small Business Saturday in Okeechobee County.
“Our community cannot continue to grow without our support of our small businesses,” said Paulette Wise, of the Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce. She said due to the pandemic, the businesses “we’ve all had to pivot in different directions.
“Look at how much our small businesses have had to change in the way they do business,” she said. “They deserve our support not only on this day but every single day.”
She said Small Business Saturday in Okeechobee will be a little different this year. “We are going to be doing videos for any small business,” she said. “Any of them that reach out to us, there is a short application they fill out at Okeechobeebusiness.com.” The chamber is making one minute videos which will be run Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Thanksgiving weekend.
Founded by American Express in 2010 and officially co-sponsored by the Small Business Association since 2015, Small Business Saturday has become an important part of how many small businesses launch their busiest shopping season. Studies show that Small Business Saturday’s build long-term awareness with customers and those customers shop to support their local community.
According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of an estimated $19.6 billion. The same survey reported that more than 70% of consumers are now aware of the Small Business Saturday initiative. Based on this annual survey over the years, Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began in 2010.
In other business at the Nov. 12 meeting, the commissioners approved a request from Kantrel Smith to waive the fee for the use of the Douglas Brown Center for a toy drive on Dec. 12. Smith is an Okeechobee resident and breast cancer survivor who has established a non-profit organization called Blessed Hands Outreach Services Inc. “My main target is to focus on the less fortunate people,” Smith explained. She said this year many families need help. She said the library and the downtown barber shop have agreed to collect toys. Her church is collecting toys and the UPS store will have a collection box. She said Blessed Hands now has a “donate now” button on Facebook and is a nonprofit option on Amazon Smiles donations.