Small businesses are gearing up for the holiday shopping season–including those in the Greater Pelican Area.

“Small Business Saturday” is November 26. Locally, the celebration of small business actually starts a day early–Friday, November 25, when downtown Pelican Rapids illuminates for the holidays with the “Lighted Horse Parade” at 6:30 p.m.

Businesses will be hosting holiday open houses and special promotions all day on Friday, leading up to the pmsa-welcome-poster_posterarade.

Meanwhile, small businesses everywhere are also taking a position on societal matters – driven in large part by “Main Street Alliance.” The mission of the Alliance: “to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues across the nation. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders.”

At least one Pelican Rapids business, “Rose Gallery” has joined the Main Street Alliance.  Artist and owner Marcella Rose has joined and is advocating some of the “social responsibility” platforms of the organization.

“I have known about Main Street since I lived in Santa Fe and its support for the arts in the community,” stated Rose.

Accompanying this column is an image of a poster that the Alliance is circulating–which Rose has posted at her gallery and store.

Rose has also endorsed the “Safety Pin Movement,” whereby those wearing the pins are “a safety net for those who feel threatened by bigotry.”

“Something as simple as wearing a safety pin is declaring solidarity with anyone who feels vulnerable to bigotry. It means you will help anyone who comes to you for safety,” stated Rose. “It shows solidarity in a community that is so very diverse. Reach out, actions speaks louder than words.”

Being a small business owner, and taking on social issues, comes with risks.  Not everybody will philosophically sign on to Rose’s pleas–especially in the wake of the contentious 2016 election, where the nation was divided roughly in half between two controversial presidential

“As an artist, my purpose and duty to humanity is to reflect that which is truth and the highest good back to each person I encounter. I live to inspire, and assist humanity in raising  the collective conscious of our society,” said Rose.

It is an admirable position that Rose is taking. She could gain both customers and supporters of her campaign.

She could also lose customers.

Either way, this form of advocacy is consistent with the Founding Fathers who framed the constitution to ensure freedom of expression and speech.

“Freedom comes from being responsible. Responsible to humanity, and to our planet,” noted Rose.

Main Street Alliance combines the spirit of small business with the spirit of advocacy. It is worth reprinting the value statement from Main Street Alliance:

Trust & Transparency: Successful small businesses are built on trust.

Inclusion & Equity: Small businesses succeed when communities thrive, when all are welcome and opportunity is shared.

Leadership: If we want our voices to be heard, we’ve got to speak up for ourselves.

Sustainability: We build our businesses not for short-term gain, but for the long haul. Our public policies should reflect that.

Shared Responsibility: Small businesses are part of the fabric of communities. We’re committed to giving back.

So, right in downtown Pelican Rapids, we’re witnessing an array of American freedoms: Free speech and expression–while also engaging in free enterprise.