Small businesses are the lifeblood of every town in Montana. In 2021, Montana was named the Best State to Open a Business and even then, there's a five-year business survival rate of 53.4%. Small Business Saturday really matters this year.

Larger companies might employ more people, but it's the SMALL businesses that make or break families. Owners are our friends and neighbors. With inflation much higher than it's been in many years, consumers are being incredibly picky about where they spend their dollars...and price matters more than ever.

Shopify states that $1.3 million is being spend EVERY MINUTE this holiday shopping season. Over 166 million Americans are expected to shop this weekend.

Higher income households still have plenty of money to spend, but those of us who have always needed to stretch our dollars, need to do that more than ever. People who normally "always shop local, shop small" might be more apt to simply follow their purchase to the cheapest matter what store it is. Larger, national stores can typically out-price smaller, local stores due to volume purchasing.

Now, that's not ALWAYS true. I would implore you to spend a few minutes price checking our smaller, locally owned businesses for price matching policies. You may have noticed that the smaller guys have made great strides to be very competitive.

When times are tight, it becomes more important to spend our dollars as locally as possible. Might you be spending a bit less this year or holding out for the best possible sales? Sure. That's a smart thing to do. But I would also argue that spending our money with small, locally owned businesses is now life or death...for them. With fewer dollars being spent (perhaps), where those dollars end up is more important than ever. The fight just got tougher.

No matter if it's a burrito for lunch, a bottle of booze, or a nice scarf - a moment spent on WHERE TO BUY our holiday items matters. Now more than ever. We get to speak loudly with our wallets, and the livelihood of our neighbors depend on it.

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