When it comes to shopping, nearly everyone can quickly make a list of their favorite stores. That particular grocery store has the best deals on fruit, that clothing store sells the jeans that seem to fit better than others, and that toy store carries your go-to gifts for birthday parties.
But have you ever thought about how much your patronage actually matters to the store? Let's face it, each time you walk into a big box store, you are another faceless number in their daily count, and your money is all just a part of their bottom line.
But what about when you patronize your local, small businesses? If you shop there often, there's a good chance that the owner knows you by name and can even suggest a gift your children might like, a bouquet of flowers your mom might enjoy, or a new bracelet that would match the earrings that you previously purchased. In short, small business owners are the hard-working, inspirational, following-their-dreams folks that care about you and your business.
And there is no better time to show them your support than on Small Business Saturday, falling this year on November 24th.
Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sits Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to helping small businesses and their communities. By supporting local, independently-owned small businesses, you are able to help create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.
My brother and sister-in-law were small business owners years ago, as they decided to try their hand at running an ice cream/gift shop all on their own. As they both have an entrepreneurial spirit, it made sense for them to follow their dreams and be the bosses... and little did I know how much time, energy and money would go into working towards that goal.
While on the outside it appeared that all there really was to do was scoop out delicious flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and more...
...in reality, there were daily challenges that went along with costs, supplies, timing, execution, and much more that made each small triumph only a drop in the bucket when it came to guaranteeing overall success.
In the end, the circumstances didn't come together right (plus an ice cream shop in the Midwest is difficult, considering that it is not ice cream weather for 2/3 of the year), and my family members moved on to other career paths.
For me, my involvement in helping them gave me insight into the retail world of small business owners and only encouraged my belief in how important it is to Shop Small!
As well as my introduction to small businesses by dishing out two-scoop cones, the past 3+ years of blogging has made me relate to small business owners even more. Every day the amount of time, work and effort that goes into keeping this site running manages to surprise me... and I am continuously hopeful that my children see and understand that hard work can equal results no matter where their dreams may take them.
Last year, over one hundred million people shopped small on Small Business Saturday, so this year be sure to not miss out on helping make it even bigger! So, after shopping on Black Friday at the big retailers, go out on Saturday and grab a bagel at your favorite coffee shop, pick up flowers from the florist on Main Street and help to support and grow the businesses that give your town its character.
Shopping small allows you to make those close connections with the business owners in your neighborhood and show your support for the businesses that boost the economy and invigorate communities across the country.
This year, be sure to do your part by visiting ShopSmall.com to find out where to Shop Small near you and Like the Small Business Saturday page on Facebook to learn even more.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for American Express. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.