By Bobbi Whitmore
From FLORIDA TODAY – October 15, 2017
Growing up in a small town in South Dakota, we had a vibrant Main Street. The community took pride in supporting the local small businesses (they were all mom and pop shops), I know because I worked at one of the handful of boutiques on that main street. Things are different today. People have options on where to shop – be it online, at a major national or internal discount chain, etc. Despite that, I still see the same pride and loyalty in the clientele that support my local community and the handful of mom and pop shops in my small town – Cocoa Village.
So why is it so important to support and shop small? Supporting and shopping small has long been the battle cry from local main streets starting with the introduction of the “Mall”. By keeping it local and supporting small business, it helps promote a healthy local economy, employs local people, and fosters an environment for community involvement to support the needs of that local community.
A study done by the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta discovered that for every $100 spent at a small business, approximately $70 stays within the local economy, while only $43 remains in the community when the same amount is spent at a non-locally owned business.
One of the biggest events of the year for shopping small is Shop Small Saturday. American Express is behind the event and it has gained momentum over the years. We have customers that make it a point to come in and let us know they are there to support us on that day.
This year’s Shop Small Saturday is November 25! Mark your calendars! I have always felt that attracting people to shop in your small business is a two-way street. You have to give your customers a reason to support you. The obvious reasons are your great product, your fabulous customer service, and the spectacular events you offer in your place of business. Not so obvious are the perks for your loyal customers. Those who support you day-in and day-out. You offer rewards for your most loyal customers.
Now more than ever this is imperative as we small businesses have to compete against the behemoths such as Amazon and the like. And perhaps one of the most important reasons to shop small and shop local – is the one that gives us all great satisfaction – making it about something other than yourself. With this in mind, the focus is really less on profit and more on people.
Statistically, small businesses are more likely to “do good” within the community they reside in and support the organizations that rely on volunteers and charitable funding to survive. So when you support us, we support them.
And speaking of supporting your local businesses that give back to the community – ask your favorite local business how you can help further support their charitable causes. For example, October is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. We at Bobbi’s at Parkside will be doing a number of events and fundraisers to benefit our local Serene Harbor Domestic Abuse Center. This is their 25 year anniversary and we hope to make this a great year for them. To learn more, visit bobbisatparkside.com.
Bobbi Whitmore is the owner of Bobbi’s at Parkside in Cocoa Village and a graduate of weVENTURE’s IGNITE 360® Business Mentoring Program. Learn more about Bobbi’s at Parkside at bobbisatparkside.com.
Columnist series are sponsored by weVENTURE, powered by the Florida Institute of Technology. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.