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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, now Small-Business Saturday

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 24 2010 6:01 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The traditional start to the holiday buying season is getting under way now.

We're all well aware of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday." Now here's another one.

This week, Gov. Gary Herbert declared Nov. 27 as "Small Business Saturday" in Utah to encourage consumers to shop at Utah's home grown businesses.

"Small business is located throughout the state, not just on the Wasatch Front. They're all over — east, west, north, south," said Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Those businesses are a huge economic driver for the state and create and sustain thousands of jobs, Eccles said. "In Utah, about 90 percent of the jobs come from small business. Eighty percent of the companies in Utah are small business."

Utah's agriculture industry is also a big player.

"That's probably become the hottest item in agriculture right now: buy local," said Leonard Blackham, the commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Consider the big crowds that regularly pack the summertime farmer's markets. Locally grown and produce items are a huge hit.

"Agriculture in the state of Utah and ag processing is about 14 percent of the state's economy," or about $14 billion, Blackham said. "So it's pretty significant here in keeping the economy going."

The agriculture department's long-running "Utah's Own" campaign has been very successful in prompting consumers to make conscious decisions to buy locally produced products.

A movement, Blackham said, that's expected to continue growing.

"It's good for the environment too, reduces transportation costs, saves the use of energy, so it just makes good sense to buy as much local as we can," he said.

Besides, he said, it feels good to support the local guy.

"Absolutely. It can be your neighbor, your cousins, your friends down in Sanpete County or up in Box Elder County. People want to keep agriculture in Utah. They want to keep as much production as possible here."

e-mail: kmccord@desnews.com

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