Letters to the editor: Nov. 27-28

The Shawnee News-Star

Small Business Saturday Supports Oklahoma Communities

Dear editor,

With the celebration of Thanksgiving, the craziness of Black Friday, and the local flavor provided by Small Business Saturday, it is important to remember why Small Business Saturday is a critical day for the Oklahoma community you call home.

Consider what gives a community its character and identity.  Oftentimes it’s the high school or a particular tourist attraction.  In many communities it’s a small business or a set of small businesses.  It can be restaurants, farmers markets, or in some cases a movie theater. 

Celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday allows consumers to make an impact in their neighborhoods by supporting local small businesses.

Take for instance the town of Carnegie, in Southwest Oklahoma, where the Liberty Theater has been in operation for more than 100 years.  The three-screen movie theater in downtown Carnegie is the oldest continuous-running movie house in Oklahoma. The theater has been in continuous operation since 1915, dating to the era of silent movies and the first decade of statehood. 

The theater has been shuttered since 2020, leaving the owner Jerry Applewhite to dip into his personal savings to pay the bills and wait out the pandemic. According to Applewhite, the theater might not have reopened without SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator’s Grant (SVOG).  Happily, the theater will reopen November 24th, just in time for the holidays.

Our staff at the Oklahoma District office feels a great deal of satisfaction in helping small businesses like the Liberty Theater.  It is just one of thousands of Oklahoma businesses SBA helped get through this unprecedented pandemic.

Please be conscious about your shopping choices as you put together your holiday lists. Just as Carnegie would be less without the Liberty Theater, communities across Oklahoma would be less without small businesses of all kinds.

John D. Veal, Jr.

Oklahoma District Director

U.S. Small Business Administration