Small Business Saturday
Posted November 21, 2017 | 2:16 PM

Show Your Spirit, Shop Small this Season

"Small Business Saturday" is a boon to holiday shoppers, and local shops and restaurants

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday celebrates the nation's small businesses and encourages shoppers to patronize them as the holiday season gets underway.

Small Business Saturday always is the first Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. This year's spree falls on Nov. 25.

The need to frequent small businesses increases as online shopping becomes commonplace. Locally owned stores help create jobs, boost the economy, and revitalize neighborhoods.

Hillsborough County is part of the Florida Small Business Development Center (Florida SBDC), network, which helps existing and start-up businesses with consulting, information, and low-cost training.

More than 90 percent of businesses in Hillsborough County are considered small. Mary Beth Wang's Jubilee Gymnastics in Ruskin is among them. The gymnastics and martial arts center this year has served almost 500 children and adolescents. Through physical exercise, they develop strength, flexibility, and coordination, while enjoying each another's company and having fun.

Mary Beth and her husband, Chen, started the business in 2013. As it grew, the couple needed help. They attended Florida SBDC workshops on finance, marketing, and bookkeeping, and worked with a consultant, all for free.

"We were growing fast and we didn't have the skillset we needed," Mary Beth says. Without the Center, "I don't know what we would have done." Mary Beth and Chen still confer with a Florida SBDC mentor to keep their business on track.

On Small Business Saturday, show local merchants and restaurateurs you care. Discover a gift or enjoy a meal that you might not find at a big-box retailer or chain restaurant. Some local businesses plan to offer special deals or discounts on Nov. 25.

Photo information: Mary Beth Wang, pointing, works with children at Jubilee Gymnastics in Ruskin.