This past couple weeks have been interesting as I’ve watched the morning news on TV.
I’ve noticed a trend that has reinforced what I’ve come to realize over several years.
There is a huge disconnect between the producers and anchors of shows like NY-based Good Morning America and TODAY Show, and small town America.
As I watched these news shows leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, they kept promoting online shopping and everything you could find online. And, I have noticed they talk about Google, Facebook, and Amazon all the time. It’s almost as if they are in cahoots with these Goliath corporate vampires.
After some discussion at the Journal water cooler about this subject, I learned that the TODAY Show did a bit on Small Business Saturday.
They brought in businesses to set up kiosks (tables) with their goods that they sell at their stores. But, these businesses had to come to the TODAY Show on their turf, which is inconvenient for any small business owner.
Weather anchor Al Roker walked along to each table and asked each business owner about their wares. The first person owned a bookstore in Bronx, N.Y. The next business owner came from the small town of Miami, Fla.
Bronx population is 1.471 million, which is nearly 26% of the entire population of the State of Minnesota. Hardly a small town. Miami is quite a bit smaller at 470,000 people. Still more than 22 times the size of the population of Fillmore County, Minn.
For Small Business Saturday, why don’t they visit some small towns throughout America and talk to business owners in rural communities like ours? Because that would require work. It’s much easier to have everyone come to you in New York.
My point with this observation is that small businesses in small town America have the national mainstream media working against them. They are disconnected from our reality. The top dogs at NBC, ABC, CBS (and many more) live in a bubble.
They don’t seem to understand the challenges we face in small town America trying to keep our downtown local businesses surviving and hopefully, thriving.
And, this is where our newspaper has an opportunity and a responsibility to continuously serve our community in the best way possible.
In 2010, following The Great Recession, American Express launched the concept of Small Business Saturday. It wasn’t until 2017 that it really started to take flight in Fillmore County. In 2018, it became more prominent with communities and businesses working together to promote “Shop Local” campaigns.
But, in 2019, it exploded with so many businesses on-board. We noticed it at the Fillmore County Journal when our Small Business Saturday section grew to 16 pages.
And, what made this section extra special was that we had an opportunity to personalize it from cover to cover. Our assistant editor and design team looked back in the archives of all of the local stories we have published about local business owners. Whether it is a new business or a business celebrating an anniversary, we’ve sent a reporter to help share these stories. Or, maybe it is a business that has expanded in size or services. Whatever the case, we share these stories in this newspaper on a regular basis. And, whenever a new business is opening their doors, they give us a call with hopes we will introduce their new venture to our readers — near and far. We know these stories have legs, giving businesses tremendous exposure.
So, because mainstream media is disconnected from small town America, our team at the Fillmore County Journal needs to work even harder to help promote what our communities have to offer.
While I was at the recent December Preston Area Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting, we talked about Small Business Saturday, and how this should be looked at as the kick-off for the holiday shopping season leading up to Christmas. It’s not just one day. It’s a movement to promote shopping local. And, we can be a part of that movement.