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Small businesses can be hard to pin down

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Not all small businesses are retail, which is adding a bit of confusion to Small Business Saturday, the answer to Black Friday that scheduled for this coming Saturday.

Shopsmall.com, the site set up by American Express, has listings of small businesses that include dentists, lawyers and medical facilities — not exactly the sort of businesses that get you in the holiday mood.

Now comes Independent We Stand, an organization with a website that says it is “a movement of locally-owned businesses and people across the country dedicated to educating their communities about the importance — and strong economic benefits — of ‘buying local.’”

Independent We Stand even launched a new application for iPhones and Android phones so users can look for local businesses to shop, eat and be entertained by using the organization’s database, but a quick search shows it is hardly comprehensive. All of the businesses listed had to pay at least $10 for a basic membership. They got a higher listing if they were premium members for $90. The $90 fee included a bigger marker for the business on the map and a top listing.

Independent We Stand is sponsored by the Stihl, a brand of tools, so perhaps it is not surprising that all of the premium members within 10 miles of Downtown Pittsburgh were tool rental places and hardware or outdoor supply stores.

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