30 Days of Thanks: Small Business Owners
It’s the heart of the holiday season. Thanksgiving has come and gone (as well as Black Friday), and there are only a few short weeks until the holidays.
A common phrase I’ve been hearing at work is, "Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?" This year, I’ve decided to do 100 percent of my holiday shopping at places that I’m thankful for – small businesses.
Why? Because for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 stays in the local economy. As someone who lives in a small town, you can see the difference a thriving small business community makes. According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, more than 5.4 million businesses fall into the category of 0-19 employees. That translates into about 21.4 million people employed through small businesses.
I think it’s pretty clear supporting local and small businesses is important. But even without researched facts, I love to and would much rather shop small and/or local shops. I’ve had OK customer service and great deals at the big chain stores, but I’ve never built a relationship with them like I have with small shops -- and their owners.
What places are on my list to stop at this year?
For starters, Horse Emporium in Waukesha, Wis. Sue and her family have run the store since 1986. They are a great source for knowledgeable information and friendly advice about your horse and riding needs. Not to mention the girls – Amy and Alissa – were incredibly patient when fitting my daughter for riding boots, as well as a new saddle for a high-withered horse.
I’ll also stop at Lewis Station Winery in Lake Mills, Wis. Owners Michelle and Rob created a boutique winery and shop in the heart of this community. I believe if you can’t find appropriate hostess gifts at Lewis Station for all the holiday parties you’re attending this season, you might as well stay home.
I also made a special trip in October to Door County to pick up a few items from the local shops, including Maxwell’s House and a local cherry orchard (25 pounds of Door County cherries to be exact!).
But it’s not just the traditional store-front shops that fall into the small business category. There are also numerous service-type companies and one-person shops to consider year-round when looking for goods and services.
Small business owners are our friends and neighbors. They are vitally important to the economic growth and stability of our nation. Despite economic volatility, many of these local businesses continue to survive and provide jobs, services and products to our communities. This is a testament to the small business owners’ tenacity and creativity, and to the faithfulness of local consumers.
The next time you walk into a local establishment or contact a local service provider, take a moment to pause, look around, and see all that is being done, what is being provided, and the number of people busy at work. If you get a chance, find the owner and thank them for being willing to take the risk, stand against all odds, and provide jobs and revenue for your community.
What small business will you be shopping at this season? Give them a shout-out in the comments below.
Editor's note: Give yourself permission to practice gratitude! Each day during November, American Family Insurance will share ideas for showing appreciation for the people, things and events in our lives. We hope you use these 30 Days of Thanks as an opportunity to share your gratitude. Visit us on Facebook for inspiration and ideas as we celebrate 30 Days of Thanks.