Recently I’ve seen a meme on the internet that reads: “When you shop from a small business an actual person does a happy dance.” This is so true, and while I wish I could perform backflips to add to my excitement when my small, local business is supported, a happy dance is what I do. During this holiday season, which typically means a busy shopping season, I’d like to remind you to shop at small, local businesses. Heck, I bet my fellow business owners would perform said happy dance in person for you if you ask. Or play the right song.
Owning and operating a small business is no easy feat and it’s not for the faint of heart. And during a time of year when sales are made, you can make a significant contribution to your local economy and community by purchasing your gifts at the businesses owned by your friends and neighbors. These are folks who are driven to share their passion, whether it’s through goods or services they provide, make, or deliver, to you. Their passion, in my experience, goes well beyond the actual business and is spread to their community. The business owners that I know are the people who have elected to invest in the local economy, provide local jobs, and create community. Economic data shows that when you shop small, $.67 from every dollar stays right in your neighborhood. That’s a significant contribution and one that has far reaching impacts, besides the whole happy dance.
When you think of a charitable effort, community benefit, or civic project you can always pinpoint the various local business that has provide a donation of either goods, services, or money to help make that event or project happen. We who open our doors to our businesses know that it makes good sense to help support our community and when there is a need we step up to fill it. I can’t even count how many business owners I know in the Flathead Valley who are not only generous with their business, from donating money to making a trail project come to life to providing much needed basic services to underserved population, but also give their time on non-profit and community boards. They know that we all benefit when we come together as a town or group, and they lend their expertise, enthusiasm, and genuine hometown pride to make improvements for everyone.
As a consumer, your voice is heard loud and clear with your shopping decisions. It’s a very competitive market for all of us as local and small business owners, and it’s a daunting prospect to compete against major online retailers. Yet each day, these champions of small and local look at those challenges head on, and continue to push forward despite the high stakes.
You have many opportunities this month if gift-giving is your tradition to see that happy dance in action. Shop small and local and we will all benefit. Happy holidays!
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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