Giving Thanks for Small Businesses on Thanksgiving

By at 20 November, 2018, 9:51 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Small businesses play a key role in helping to bring food to the Thanksgiving tables of Americans.  Make no mistake, the roles, as noted in the information below, are substantial in ensuring that  Thanksgiving Day festivities are enjoyed by all.

Consider, for example:

Grocery stores. Most of us purchase the main portions of our Thanksgiving meals at grocery stores. In terms of the number of employer firms (latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau here and below are from 2015), the grocery business very much is about small business. For example:

● Among employer firms in the grocery stores sector, 87.2 percent have less than 20 employees, and 97.7 percent less than 100 workers.

● Among employer firms in the grocery and related product merchant wholesalers sector, 82 percent have less than 20 employees, and 96 percent less than 100 workers.

Bakeries. Many of us have our favorite bakeries where we purchase pies that top off the Thanksgiving celebration. Again, we’re talking small business. Among retail bakeries, 87.1 percent have less than 20 employees, and 98.8 percent less than 100 workers.

Adult Beverages. Wine and other adult beverages often are part of the meal on Thanksgiving. Among beer, wine and liquor stores, 96.9 percent have less than 20 employees, and 99.5 percent less than 100 employees.

Turkey. Of course, turkey usually is part of the main course. According to the National Turkey Federation, “In 2017 U.S. consumption of turkey was 16.4 pounds per person. U.S. growers raised 242.5 million turkeys in 2017.” In addition, “Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, meaning that approximately 736 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the United States during Thanksgiving in 2016.”

● The top turkey producing state is Minnesota. In fact, according to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, “Minnesota’s turkey farmers raise approximately 46 million birds annually, bringing more than $600 million in income for farmers, processors and other related industries.” And the turkey business in Minnesota is family business:

● “Minnesota has approximately 450 turkey farmers who operate 600 turkey farms.”

● “Minnesota has more independent turkey farmers than any other state in the U.S. Many of these farmers are 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation family farmers.”

Food manufacturing. Of course, Thanksgiving meals across the nation involve much more than turkey and pie. It’s worth noting, therefore, the role that small businesses and their workers play in the overall food manufacturing sector. It turns out that 73.5 percent of food manufacturing employer firms have fewer than 20 employees, and 91.5 percent fewer than 100 workers.

So, when we bow our heads this Thanksgiving Day, perhaps blessings should be requested for the entrepreneurs and employees who worked hard to produce the bounty upon our tables.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

News and Media Releases