Support small, local businesses this holiday season

There are several reasons why shopping with small businesses and supporting them on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 is important. First off EVERY big business started small. Before Target was a chain, it was a single store in Minnesota. McDonald's started out as a food stand near an airport. Every business starts with a single location, product or idea. As the companies grew, expanded and multiplied they changed, becoming more generalized, less personalized and focused on each individual customer and their needs, wants and desires.

When was the last time you went into a big business as they were closing and they stayed open for you, the clerk volunteered to research a product or service for you that the store did not carry, or the owner commiserated with you over an illness or death in your family?

Would you rather support your community and a family struggling to make a living or help a billionaire buy another beach home? Would you rather be treated as an individual or just a number walking through the door? Would you rather hear an explanation as to why a certain product or service might not be the best option for you or just be sold something so the sales clerk can make her quota for the day? These are just some of the differences between a small and larger businesses.    

This very newspaper you are reading is another example of a small business. It is family owned and completely invested in the community it serves. The stories in here are more personal and community based than those in regional or corporate-owned media. They are written by volunteer community members who care about their subjects, and their city.

Just look at the type of businesses you rarely see as large chains. Would you want to have a loved one's funeral in a large chain-type funeral home with an impersonal staff? What about your wife's favorite nail spa – is it part of a chain? What about your older car (that is still running because of your beloved local mechanic who treasures your car almost as much as you do)?

Would you rather buy low quality food for Fido and Fluffy at Walmart? Or risk them getting sick from treats bought online? If that happens who do you take them to? Veterinarians are not usually big nationwide businesses but small local ones that will call you later to see how Fluffy is doing. 

Small business owners and their employees care and react very differently from their chain store counterparts. Do you want personal service, guidance, education and your needs met or just an item shoved at you to make a sale as the company expands further?

Now don't get me wrong – I do like big businesses too and shop them for plenty of things, but it's important to support our locally owned businesses. 

Please, when making your holiday shopping list consider getting as much as possible from your local small business. Thank you for helping us and your community!        

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Volume 6, Issue 24, Posted 9:40 AM, 11.25.2014