I never understood how hard it is for a small business to flourish in today’s world, until I started working for one. Locally owned shops are forced into competition with local chain and big box stores and the entire internet. By virtue of their size, the big guys get all of the perks. There are the tax breaks, the ability to buy merchandise in such volume that they get a lower price on items, and the ability to tap into their corporation’s large advertising budget. This means the bigger stores may sometimes be able to offer lower prices. However, small businesses have much more to offer overall.
Small Businesses have the luxury of human contact. They know what their customers want, because they actually KNOW their customers. When you walk in their door, they may know you by name, by your order, or maybe just by your smile. But because of that recognition, small business owners will go that extra mile to make sure you leave their business a satisfied customer. Want something they don’t have? They will often find it for you. Want a color that isn’t in stock? They can get that, too.
Local businesses are also invested in the community. These are the places that will buy an ad in the school yearbook, or support a little league team. They want the community to grow and thrive, because that means their customer base will thrive, too. It’s a symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone.
Finally, small businesses keep prices reasonable. A big store with no competition can charge the customer as much as they want, and depending on that person’s needs, they may be forced to pay it. When you have several small businesses providing the same products or services, everyone has to keep their customer service high quality and their prices affordable, or people can (and will!) go somewhere else.
So the truth is, supporting small businesses does a lot more for your community than you ever realized. It keeps local people employed. It keeps services conveniently nearby. And it acts as a system of checks and balances to keep inflated prices at bay. In short, if you want to improve the big picture, sometimes you just need to think small! ~Jackie Farley