As I am sitting here, sipping coffee and using the free wi-fi at a new coffee shop at the edge of Carrollwood, I find myself wondering how many people that have walked through the door chose this place for the same reason I did. It is a
locally owned shop vs. a large national chain. Sips Specialty Coffee House on Gunn Highway is only slightly out of the way for me but I love giving my money to local shop owners.
Maybe I'm partial to the small business owner since I grew up in a family owned business. During the 60's my grandfather started a local auto parts supply store. This business was handed down to father as a second generation owner. Three
generations worked at our family's store. We learned customer service and the art of merchandising. We also learned the value of relationships and that “the customer is always right.” There was a personalized service that I often find lacking in a lot of retailers today.
Last weekend, many turned to local shops during the great media promoted event: Small Business Saturday. There were also many that were very tired from the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping at larger national retailers. So which did you do?
For me, shopping local means letting my money stand for my beliefs. I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity. I believe in supporting the little guy. I believe letting my money serve my own community. I also enjoy the level of
service I receive and the relationships I have built with local shop owners.
If all of that isn't enough to convince you to shop local, here are a few other reasons:
Unique gifts and quality merchandise. Most small business owners are very familiar with the brands they carry. They have already taken the time and done the research on why they should carry that particular brand within their store. Local shops will often carry unique items that are produced locally on a small scale. Have you ever stopped in at Groovy Cats and Dogs and chatted with Yvonne about any of the brands she carries? She is a wealth of information and often carries locally produced items.
Amazing customer service. Most small business owners understand the value of customer service. They build a positive experience around this business principal. They carefully select their employees to ensure that their customers are given the care that they deserve. If asked, most people do not select major
retailers for customer service, instead choosing these retailers for convenience and price. In a crazy hectic world, I still value amazing customer service.
These businesses build and support your community. Local businesses are the most generous when it comes to supporting local community. Dr. Tommy Lane of Lane Family Chiropractic recently gathered over 1300 pounds of food for Metropolitan Ministries to use over the holidays. That's a lot of food! Local businesses also sponsor school events and local sports. They roll up their sleeves and donate their time as well. I know that large retailers give back too. I also know that local businesses are invested in their communities at a personal level and I support this.
So the next time you need a cup of coffee or are out shopping for your holiday gifts, will shop local?