Shopping Small, Giving Large

Small+businesses+offer+unique%2C+innovate+shopping+experiences%2C+and+by+shopping+small+customers+are+supporting+their+local+economies.+These+leather+bracelets+were+created+by+a+local+designer+and+are+sold+at+a+local+boutique.+

Zachary Asato

Small businesses offer unique, innovate shopping experiences, and by shopping small customers are supporting their local economies. These leather bracelets were created by a local designer and are sold at a local boutique.

Anja Asato, Editor-in-Chief

With big business and chain retailers making up almost every strip mall and shopping center, I’ve often found my favorite shop to be the rare small business. Although they may not have the biggest selection or the fanciest advertising, they have something that most big retailers don’t – a true, individual care for each and every customer, and a focus on the community they serve.

Shopping small has become a lifestyle for a group of Americans. The trend has started to grow in popularity since 2010 when American Express began Small Business Saturday. It falls on the day after Black Friday and is a day dedicated to supporting the mom and pop shops across the country.

Small business serves an important role in our communities; since 1995, small businesses have generated 65% of new jobs according to Forbes. Aside from creating jobs, small businesses give back to their communities by adapting to the needs of their specific customers.

Sadly, the majority of small businesses end in failure. According to Forbes, only one-third of all small businesses are able to keep their doors open for more than a decade. I’ve seen multiple locally owned restaurants and retail shops go out of business due to lack of sales, although they offered quality merchandise and customer service. They simply were unable to compete with the large scale advertising and unbelievably low prices of chain stores.

To combat this problem, I do my part to shop small whenever possible. Instead of purchasing my books from Barnes and Noble, I’ll head over to Changing Hands. And I’d much rather go to Bosa Donuts before Dunkin, and I’ll buy gifts from Clothes Minded instead of Kohl’s.

By shopping small, the money customers spend goes into the paychecks of the business owners and employees, typically middle class individuals trying to support their families. The money stays in our local community instead of going toward a multi-million dollar bonus for a CEO.

Shopping at small businesses allows for a different experience. Many times, I meet the owners of the stores or employees who have been working there for countless years. These familiar faces recognize me and welcome me each visit. Aside from some of the best customer service I’ve received, small businesses like boutiques, gift shops, and family owned restaurants offer unique selections and one-of-a-kind finds. I can always be sure that no one else will have the same outfit. I also find that I can always find the best gifts at these stores.

I believe shopping small is one of the best ways to support the communities we live in. By keeping money circulating in the local economy, it helps to promote economic stability. I’ll always love a designer find at Nordstrom, but shopping at a small business is a feel-good experience; I’m supporting local business owners while finding some of the best or most original clothing, jewelry, gifts, and food.