May 3, 2019
Shop Local, Support Small Business
By: Jenna Paulus, Public Relations Manager, Deluxe
For the new “Small Business Tips” series, we met one-on-one with inspiring entrepreneurs all across America. Each one shares actionable insights and lessons to help other small business owners overcome some of their biggest (and most common) challenges.
Shop local. No, it doesn’t mean frequenting your local big box chain or mall to buy gifts for friends or family. When I think of shopping local, it means frequenting the gift store at the end of my block, or the independent coffee shop, and family-run restaurant.
Growing up in a small town in Indiana, where it was at least a 30-minute drive to the nearest mall, all I knew was shopping local. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are around the local places we frequented.
One of my first jobs was at our local ice cream shop, Dari-Licious, where I was a Dari-Licious Darling (I swear this is not a joke). It wasn’t a big chain. It didn’t have the support big chains have. It survived because of the owners’ incredible service and the support of the community. When I worked there, I knew the regulars so much so, they didn’t even have to order, I’d just have it ready. That kind of service is what kept people coming back.
During Deluxe’s January trip across the country visiting the Top 10 towns for Small Business Revolution, all my small-town memories came flooding back. Walking into Old Mexican Inn in Corsicana, Texas, I was amazed to see so many of their customers stopping me to say how much they loved the restaurant and how it feels like family. Or speaking with Pamela Weirich of Abundant Joy Gifts & Gathering Place in Marinette, Wisconsin who stopped our interview so she could go say “hi” to a customer who had come in with her children. It’s that type of customer service that makes me want to shop local. That knowledge; that attention; that feeling like you’re part of the family.
In Durant, Oklahoma, where the women’s boutiques are aplenty, I did some shopping. I didn’t have much time when I was there (which was probably a good thing for my bank account), so I stopped in quickly at The Southern Drawl Boutique and was greeted cheerfully by Cecily Williams, the owner, along with two of her employees.
While I shopped, I noticed how they interacted with customers. Not only did they suggest things that would look good, but they were so incredibly positive and helpful with every woman who walked in the door. I know that sometimes, small boutiques can be intimidating, especially when you’re not comfortable in your own skin. Cecily and her employees do such an amazing job of making every woman feel comfortable. That’s why she carries a range of sizes and why the heart behind her business is to break the mold of what is considered beautiful.
These people are why you shop local. You shop local to not only support a small business, a person whose survival depends on your support and that of the community, but because you’re getting a service unmatched by any big box retailer or shop in the mall. You’re getting a true experience.
We were lucky enough to speak to some amazing small business owners about why they shop local and why others should as well. Check out their responses in the video above and stay tuned to our blog and social channels for more updates from small businesses across the country.