March 30th is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day! Rick and Margie Segel founded this day in honor of couples like his parents whose successful hat shop opened in 1939 and grew into a 10,000 square foot, $2 million dollar clothing store. It is a special day to appreciate the long hours, hard work and dedication it takes to run a small business. We here at Eat Well Nashville know all too well about everything that goes on behind the scenes to start, grow and maintain a small business. We couldn’t do it without all of our amazing customers though!
Now is the Target or Kroger that is within a few miles of your home shopping locally? If you answered yes since it’s technically in your community, you’d be wrong. Shopping locally means:
- Buying seasonal veggies at your area’s farmers market
- Eating at independently owned restaurants instead of fast food or chain restaurants
- Shopping at your local hardware store rather than a big box store
- Supporting local artisans who make candles, soaps, handcrafted jewelry, furniture, etc.
- Buying from independent book sellers instead of online retailers
- Using local craftspeople to repair or refurbish furniture or broken items you otherwise might have thrown away
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 27 million small businesses in the United States - 26,000+ alone in just Nashville as of 2018! Owning your own business is a dream that so many people strive to attain - whether it’s handed down to you or you venture out and start something all on your own. By no means is either an easy feat! Countless hours are put into each and every day of these businesses so it's no wonder that their customer service is unmatched to the bigger chains and corporations. This is due to the owners taking personal pride in their operations as well as taking pride in the communities that they serve.
Dr. Sue Lynn Sasser, professor of economics at the University of Central Oklahoma said, “When profits stay local, it increases the community’s wealth, tax revenue and standard of living.” She adds, “Small businesses and local businesses are still the backbone of our economy. They are local people serving local people and are generally committed to staying there, raising their families. After all, most businesses started out as a small, local business and earned the success of growing and expanding. It’s the American Dream.”
- More of your money will be kept in your local communities
- For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $73 will stay in the community. If you spend that same $100 at a national chain, only $43 stays in the community.
- You can reduce environmental impacts by 26%
- Locally owned businesses make more local purchases - requiring less transportation - and set up shop in town or city centers which generally means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
- Keeps your community unique
- One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinct character of our place. It’s what distinguishes the uniqueness of our community compared to a chain store that looks the same anywhere else.
- Support community groups
- Small businesses donate almost 2.5x more per employee to local charitable causes than large, national chains.
- Create more local ownership and good jobs
- Up to 90% of net new jobs in the U.S. are created by locally owned businesses.
- Get better service
- Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their clients, customers and patrons.
- Better selection for you
- Small businesses that select products based not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantee a much broader range of product choices and price.
- Better public services
- Local businesses mean a stronger tax base and better use of public services compared to nationally owned stores. This translates into better schools, transportation, and emergency response services for you and your family.
- Encourage local prosperity
- Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that promote their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. This also means a better use of a community space.
So many great reasons to start buying as many of your goods and services from locally owned businesses near you as it essentially benefits not only them, but you and your community as well! Before shopping at your bigger chain stores, go through your shopping list and really think about what you can purchase locally first. Think like a tourist! When you’re on vacation, what do you do to find places to eat and shop? You most likely Google it or ask the locals where the best places are. Start doing that in your neck of the woods and try something new! You may just surprise yourself by finding a new favorite place to eat, get your produce, locally made jewelry or art to add to your home. They may even have better, more unique items that you are looking for that you may like even better than what the bigger stores provide or carry.
You probably already know that the best way to support your favorite small businesses is to be a repeat customer. Not only that though, here are some other great ways to support your local mom and pop shops:
- If you have an event coming up on your schedule that’s personal, for your business or even your kids school, think of using a small business to provide the food or even a small gift basket for a fundraiser. Did you know that Eat Well Nashville provides catering? Check out the details here!
- Buy gift cards for others to check out some favorite small businesses that you love! Even just a $10 gift card gets someone in the door to check out a new place that you already know is great.
- Interact on and share their social media pages. Word of mouth advertising is some of the best advertising small businesses can get.
- Take their business cards if they are available (some have discount codes on them even) to hand out to people.
- Buy their merchandise! Another great word of mouth, walking advertisement as people may ask where you got the cool looking t-shirt, coffee mug, water bottle, etc.
Let’s all join together and be more intentional about supporting the small businesses in our communities. We would not be this amazing, unique city without them! With continued support of purchasing local and sharing with others via social media and word of mouth, business owners will be able to continue to grow and serve the community in the most incredible ways.