Op-Ed

Shop small businesses to help Kentucky prosper

As we enter the holiday season, I hope that my fellow Kentuckians will join me in “shopping small.”

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday to recognize the thousands of small and family businesses, entrepreneurs, and local servicers and retailers in Kentucky and across the country. As you plan your holiday shopping, I encourage you to support local businesses on Small Business Saturday and throughout the season.

Every day in my job as Kentucky’s secretary of state and chief business official, I look for ways to help the businesses that keep Kentucky going and growing. I have met hundreds of business owners and operators as I have traveled our state, and I have learned about their plans for growth and also their struggles. I’m always thinking about how Kentucky businesses can open, expand, and prosper, because when they do, Kentucky prospers, too.

Small business runs in my blood. My grandparents Omar and Elsie Case made a living with their men’s clothing store in downtown Maysville for nearly 40 years.

My sisters and I grew up learning the value of hard work through helping our parents build a business of their own. And now, one of my sisters owns her own local clothing store in tribute to our grandparents.

Supporting small businesses means supporting Kentucky. There are approximately 341,000 small businesses in the commonwealth, according to the federal Small Business Administration. They are the backbone of our economy. These businesses create jobs and economic opportunity in every community, and they contribute to our tax bases to pay for police and fire departments, schools and other vital services.

Small businesses employ about half of the commonwealth’s private workforce. When you shop with them or use their services, you help pay the salary of a fellow Kentuckian and help support Kentucky families.

This holiday season, my husband, Andrew, and I will be shopping small to support Kentucky’s entrepreneurs and local and family-owned businesses. I hope you’ll encourage your family, friends and neighbors to shop small, too.

Let’s do our part to support Kentucky business.

Alison Lundergan Grimes is Kentucky secretary of state.

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