Small Business Saturday
With Small Business Saturday steadily approaching on November 30th, today I would like to dive deeper into the significance of this shopping holiday. I detail the connection between community and small businesses and also provide ways to support a small business without spending money.
Most people have heard the call to action to shop local, but in all reality, why is it important to support small businesses?
Small Business = Community Pride
Think of all the vibrant cities or downtowns you love to visit, what makes them so fun to visit? What makes them unique? A key ingredient to lively desirable cities are the small businesses that help define their community. Think of your favorite neighborhoods in Chicago, what defines those neighborhoods are the homegrown restaurants, bakeries, and shops that are completely unique and cannot be found anywhere else.
Travel to large cities; LA, Phoenix, NYC, Denver, they all have the same massive shopping areas with the same retail stores. The big box retailers are not what define cities. What makes those cities fantastic are the one of kind businesses that are located within their community. Think of the local coffee shop, or the 50 year old bookstore; businesses with character and history. Businesses that embrace the local culture. Businesses that make someone proud to be from their city.
Imagine the family owned Italian pizzeria that multiple generations of your family has patronized...your parents took you there for your 16th birthday and then you took your mom for her 50th birthday. Imagine the shops you take your friends to when they come to visit, the distinct shops. These authentic experiences are only possible with the small business rooted in your local community.
When you support your local small businesses, you help furnish a more vibrant community.
I think we all would agree that our ideal city would contain a downtown full of local art galleries, coffee roasteries, music venues, bookstores, clothing stores, restaurants, etc. This is not possible without the support of small businesses. When small businesses are supported in your community, this allows businesses to continue to innovate and grow, perhaps to create new job opportunities for the community.
Why is community so important?
The connection between happiness and community is not a marketing strategy; there is a proven relationship. Allison Ross PhD states,
"Happy people are more connected to the neighborhoods in which they live. Our neighborhoods can provide an environment for socializing and engaging in leisure, both of which have been shown to be associated with happiness. Promoting happiness not only enhances individual aspects of our life, but it also impacts how we feel about our neighborhood community."
Community can provide a feeling of belonging, of identity. For example, we here at InRugCo are located in a Midwestern community. Midwesterns are known to be hard workers who can make things with their hands, we can handle all types of weather, and our word is as good as gold. Our community can help bolster our self-esteem.
Let's get to the heart of community, don't you feel better when you shop at a local business and the cashier remembers your birthday? How about when the waiter at your favorite restaurant asks if you want the usual? Or maybe it's the clerk who gave you a discount last Christmas because they knew you were going through a tough financial time.
Supporting the Local Economy
Supporting a local business keeps the money within the community. For example, the handmade area rug a customer purchased at our InRugCo store goes to pay an employee's wage, that employee then uses part of her paycheck to pay for dance lessons for her daughter from a local dance studio. That money keeps circulating within the community.
Does this mean that we should stop patronizing the big box retailers? Of course not! My argument is to just discover the local shops in your neighborhood and then realize how your support can help create a vibrant place to live, work, and play.
How to Support a Local Business Without Spending Money
- Share or like their social media content (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram,etc.)
- Leave Google or Yelp reviews
- Tell your family and friends about the business
- Provide in person feedback with the business