By Emily Hoppmann, DVM
Over the past decade, we have seen more changes in the state of our economy, the job market, and the way business is done than ever before. However, these changes are not all necessarily positive changes, but if we come together as a community we can make positive progress locally. America was built on small, family-owned businesses and thinking local by supporting these small businesses is the best way to improve our local economy. By making an effort to do business with smaller, family-owned and operated businesses, it ensures that the hard-earned money we spend stays within our local economy. Not only does having this money stay within our community directly improve the local economy, but it also helps to increase employment opportunities and decrease the number of people being laid-off. By thinking local first and supporting the economy directly surrounding us, we have the power to achieve the positive changes within our community that are so desperately needed.
To give an example of how much difference supporting a local business instead of one of the bigger chain stores can make, we will use “John” who currently owns the local hardware store that has been in his family for years. For years and years, people have always come to this hardware store for supplies, advice, and helpful hints. Not only is the business contributing to our local economy just by being open, but John and his multiple employees are members of our community that are all happily employed. However, one of the large chain companies opened up in the area, offering slightly lower prices than the local hardware store since chains are able to buy in bulk at a discounted rate and smaller businesses can’t. As more and more people started to go to the big box company, John’s business slowed down and eventually he had to close the doors because his small business simply couldn’t compete with the large chain. Despite the fact that John and his employees took enormous pride in their work, always did their best to make sure every customer was taken care of, offered only the best products available and were always there with advice or guidance the hardware store went out of business. When it came down to the bottom line, John’s cost to buy and carry the same products found in larger stores was at least double since there are no price breaks for small businesses and his payroll was much higher because he wanted to employee as many knowledgeable, caring people as it took in order to personally assist each customer’s needs (not just give them an aisle number) and offer sound advice. John could not image sacrificing the quality of the customer service or the products he carried, so that left the single option of closing his beloved store. The closing of this small business is a loss that will be felt throughout our community because it is rare to find larger businesses where customer satisfaction always comes first and the folks helping you are often friends or neighbors who you trust. It also is a large blow to our local economy due to the loss of revenue from the business, having the money spent at the local store no longer being pumped back into our community, and the unemployment rising even more with those loyal employees no longer having a place to work.
As more and more large chain stores open and one small business after another has to close its doors, our economy is not going to improve. Not only does being locally owned and operated make all the difference in the world when it comes to quality and customer service, but supporting these businesses is the best answer for improving our local economy. I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of small business owners who I want to show my support for, so I will be featuring different businesses that have the same honest, respectful, and quality performance that I expect. I want to say thank you to these companies and tell the world about them, so I will be featuring all types of other small businesses in my future blogs. Until next time, think local!