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Support Your Local Merchants Saturday and "Shop Small"


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Hard-working small business owners--and their employees--have weathered a recession, the credit crunch, growing foreign competition and natural disasters to keep their doors open and our recovery moving.

Now that the turkey, stuffing and gravy has digested, we all have an opportunity to show our appreciation to America's most resilient job creators by "shopping small" tomorrow.

Last year, more than one million Americans came together to support Small Business Saturday as holiday shopping season officially kicked into full gear.

I hope we'll do even better in 2012, because when you buy local, your money stays local. There's no better way to support jobs for your neighbors and prosperity for your local community. But that's not the only reason to shop small: If you're looking for a unique gift for that special someone, local shops carry all kinds of items you won't find in the larger stores. Like, the countless Christmas presents I've found while walking down Valley Mall over the years.

And at the Department of Labor, we've been proud to help Americans who lost their jobs in the recession reinvent themselves as entrepreneurs. Small Business Saturday is another way to help them to continue to grow their businesses and their workforce.

It's about supporting people like David Alperin, who lost his international banking job but took advantage of a DOL program to go back to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He earned a degree in jewelry design, combined it with his business expertise and opened Goose Barnacle--a Brooklyn boutique featuring one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry and art.

And it's about supporting people like David Mills, who lost his job after 37 years as a toymaker at Fisher-Price. He took advantage of a DOL-funded Self Employment Assistance Program to learn business and marketing strategies to start a home-based business. Now, his firm, BJK Digital Design and Development, is now providing a stable income.

And if you want to avoid the long lines and frantic holiday scrum at the stores, you can still participate by logging online Saturday and supporting an Internet-based small business.

So enjoy time with your family and friends this holiday weekend. And if you can, do a big kindness for your local merchants by shopping small this Saturday.

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