You’ve most likely heard, when you support a small business, you aren’t padding some random CEO’s bank account, but helping a mom put food on the table. You know that supporting a small business means that a kid can join baseball, a little girl, dance class…all of those clichés are true. So yes, we all know the importance of supporting a local business.
But do you shop small? Or are you like me, an Amazon addict, who can get whatever they want, whenever they want, for a price that’s too good to pass up? Jamaican Me Crazy coffee by the pound? Check. Hand Sanitizer? Check. Ooooh, Harvest Maple Wreath for my front door? Absolutely!
Yes, I am an online shopper. It’s convenient. I can do it in my pajamas with no makeup on and bed head (which, by the way is significant). But…
Amazon doesn’t know me. I don’t have a personal relationship with Amazon. Amazon doesn’t call me to see if I liked my last order. They don’t know my family, my favorite scented candle, or what pattern looks best with my body type. To quote a line from The Godfather, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” And that’s exactly what it is. Business. Not personal.
A small business in your town, is personal. It creates a sense of community. It’s a value add that is immeasurable. While it is convenient to order online, you can’t see or feel the product. You’re tossing your money out to a stranger who may or may not provide you with a quality good or service.
Think about your neighborhood, your town, and now imagine it without that small business, without that little café. Imagine it without your favorite little restaurant. And for a second, imagine what that landscape would look like if those spots were filled by big box corporations and cookie cutter storefronts. It wouldn’t be the same. It would be impersonal.
Entering the doors of a local business allows you to meet your neighbors, meet the owner, gives you a sense of pride in your hometown. And when you come back a second time, to the owner, you’ve just become a regular. You’ve just become a friend. You’ve just given that small business owner a sense of hope.
Small business owners provide a value that no big box store can provide. They need you. And they know they need you. So they value you. They’ll work hard for you. They are your curator and personal shopper. They love to see you. They love to meet your family, your friends and children. They love giving back to the community because YOU are that community.
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on small businesses. Restaurants are closing. Storefronts are becoming vacant.
If you’ve read my blog, you know that I am a small business owner, dealing with my own potential closing. It’s a hard reality. So I’ve definitely got some skin in the game, here. I don’t want to close. More importantly, I don’t want the pandemic to be the reason I close. I don’t want to give it the satisfaction.
So while shopping on Amazon in fuzzy pajamas and snacking on peanut butter crackers is definitely convenient, it’ll never compare to the sheer joy of a small business owner, when they see you walk through their doors.
Let’s keep it personal. Let’s keep it about community. And let’s keep your local businesses in business.
Special Thanks to Eric Papachristos for helping me see what my small business means in my community.