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Why Small Business Saturday is good for you and your community

Small Business Saturday is November 30 this year, and it offers a perfect chance to get out of the house, discover your town’s hidden treasures and give back to your local economy. This celebration of small businesses was created in 2010 by American Express to open minds to the high-quality and unique products small businesses sell and encourage consumers to be conscious of where they buy.

Participation by both businesses and consumers in Small Business Saturday has grown every year, allowing for more opportunities for everyone to get involved. Here are three reasons why Small Business Saturday will be a fulfilling and fun way to spend part of your long Thanksgiving weekend.

You can be a tourist in your hometown.
It can be so easy to get caught up in our daily routines that we rarely take time to enjoy all the fun our communities have to offer. Small Business Saturday gives you a chance to break the routine and uncover all the goodness local businesses create. By exploring your town’s small businesses, you might find your new favorite place to get coffee or buy the coziest sweater you have ever owned.

The cool thing about being a tourist in your own town? When you find a shop you like, you can visit as often as you want—maybe it’ll even become a part of your daily routine.

You’ll build a sense of community.
Small businesses are an expression of the dreams and aspirations of your neighbors. When you become a regular at their shop or restaurant, you open the door for enriching community relationships. Whether you live in a small town or a dense urban area, you can feel more connected to your home by becoming friends with the business owners and the patrons who make your town unique.

Support your local economy.
The value of a thriving small business environment to a community is immeasurable. Small businesses provide product diversity, personalized customer service, local hiring opportunities and much more. And when you spend money at a local business, more of your money stays in your community than if you shopped at a chain store.

Mark your calendar for November 30 and enjoy everything your community has to offer.

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October is National Fair Trade Month!

Tomorrow marks the first day of October, a month in which we celebrate and raise awareness about the fair-trade movement and its effect on our global economy. 

What is fair trade, you ask? According to the World Fair Trade Organization, it’s “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade.” The fair-trade movement promotes proper wages, inclusive practices, and 
safe working conditions for employees. 

Many communities who produce fair-trade products are often in need. There are plenty of ways in which you can support fair-trade producers and organizations. The following list should give you some inspiration on how to incorporate the fair-trade movement into your life.

1. Purchase fair-trade products.
Look for a fair-trade symbol, like the one pictured here, when shopping for ethically sourced products. You can find fair-trade versions of just about everything you buy: clothing, home decor, kids’ toys, etc. Encourage your friends and family to join you in your fair-trade journey as well.

2. Shop for fair-trade groceries.
So many of your kitchen staples can found in fair-trade versions. From coffee to produce to herbs and spices, you’ll be sure to snag some great finds. If your local grocery store doesn’t stock a fair-trade product you’re looking for, be sure to ask an employee if they’d consider carrying it. Buying fair-trade groceries supports farmers and allows them to keep producing food that’s good for you and the global economy.

3. Spread the word about fair trade.
You know the phrase, “spread like wildfire?” Well, the fair-trade movement can’t grow unless people like you tell others about it. Use hashtags like #FairTradeMonth or #FindFairTrade on your social media posts. Talk about fair trade and its benefits to your friends, family and coworkers. Word-of-mouth is an incredibly powerful tool, and you can use to help continue a movement that’s changing the world for the better.

4. Donate to places that support fair trade.
By giving what you can to organizations that support fair trade, you’re helping strengthen the communities it impacts. A cacao farmer in Ecuador gets to keep making a living wage because of people like you who donate. Giving back to fair-trade nonprofits helps communities rise above the poverty line.

Fair trade is a wonderful cause to support. By dedicating a whole month to raise awareness for it, you can make a big impact. Try any of these ideas to get started being a champion for the fair-trade movement.