Reflections on a rainy (but busy!) small business Saturday. We all talk about the importance of shopping at small business. But why really? Here are 11 reasons.
1. Small is quality. Curating awesomeness is a small retailer’s superpower. Small shops can’t phone it in and just buy stuff off of a catalogue. They investigate, sample, test, reject, re-examine, collaborate, fret and fidget to no end until the products they offer align with the expectations of their customers. They can’t beat the big boys for cheap stuff, but they more than hold their own when it comes to affordable quality.
2. Small is local. Big businesses (almost all our supermarkets, and all big box stores, and mega-e-retailers) are not based in your local economy, or your local community. When you buy big, you put wages and profits in the hands of someone who, odds are, has zero connection with your community. Small businesses earn and spend locally, helping to keep your community vital.
3. Small supports a local economy. The smaller businesses in your community are part of a network of small businesses that support one another. Rather than source products and packaging from overseas or from distant lands, they are buying from other small local businesses, who in turn are buying from yet others. This interconnectedness makes for a resilient, community-minded economy.
4. Small means independently owned. Independently owned businesses make and spend profits in your neighborhood. According to American Express, small business spends 67 cents of every dollar earned right in its local community.
5. Small is unique. A successful small business is highly attuned to the neighborhood it selves, whether that means super friendly and kind, or super generous and involved in community activities, or super weird and reflective of the passions and spirit of the area.
6. Small is a robot-free zone. Think about it. Just how much to you dread dialing a big corporation for some of that down-home robo-service?
7. Small is your voice. Every time you shop at a small business you are sending powerful message to the world around you.
8. Small is sane. When is the last time a small business near you set up a sweatshop or bulldozed a forest in Borneo? This is not to say that all small businesses are eco-warriors, though many are, but at the very least they lack the raw power to do the kind of serious harm big business is famous for.
9. Small is giving back. According to a Funding Circle poll, 52% of small business owners give to charities. Of those, 90% donate to local causes. That’s schools, food banks, and a dizzying array of organizations that improve and strengthen your community.
10. Small is happy. Small is family. According to research by Aflac, about 87% of small business feel it is more fun working at a small business. They feel less stressed, more appreciated, and more heard. The biggest reason why employees like working for small business is “feeling like family,” followed by “greater ability to make an impact."
11. Small is belonging. The fabric of small businesses locally make up your town's distinctiveness, so that when you walk down the street you say “Hot damn, it sure does feel good to be home!” Small business is what makes your town unlike any other place, what makes it the place you love. It’s what makes you part of it all, part of all these wonderful things above. Shopping at small businesses is belonging.