How much do you “go out of your way” to support your local businesses and community?
Oprah Winfrey can speak the name of a book, a product, or a company name and it becomes the #1 Best Seller, sold out, websites are shut down, stocks shoot up and Presidents can be elected just by her endorsement. Wouldn’t we all be so lucky as to have Oprah utter the name of our small local business from her lips? Since the reality of that is not so likely to happen what else can we do to make businesses in our local economy thrive? As a resident and consumer have you ever really considered the importance of supporting the small businesses in your community? Sylvia L. Wyant is Executive Director of the Boulder Independent Business Alliance - and a writer, professor, artist and psychotherapist states that “Locally-owned businesses return about 80% of each dollar to their community, whereas chains and franchises contribute less (20%-40%), Chick-Fil-A Pike Street, Lawrenceville, Georgia excluded. Chick-Fil-A as a whole is huge community supporters and New Lawrenceville would never have reached the levels of support that they have without them. That’s my one and only disclaimer. Each dollar spent at a local business will return up to five times that amount within your community through city taxes, employees’ wages, and purchases of materials, supplies and services at other independent businesses.” That statement alone makes me want to go out of my way to spend my disposable income locally.
What does it mean to support our local business owners? Let’s start with building a relationship with them and them with us. One of our favorite words to hear in the human race is our very own name. I promise you that won’t be said in big box stores, national chains and invisible store owners. Do you remember the show Cheer’s? Cheer’s was a well-loved television series that ran from 1982 – 1993. It was a local pub in Boston where regulars share their experiences and lives with each other while drinking or working at the bar where everybody knows your name. How could you forget when one particular patron walked in the door, they all greeted him by his name, Norm. There is something to be said about that comfort that specialized attention, that recognition of no one but YOU. Building that relationship in the community has to start with you and your family getting out and supporting local establishments in your area. But remember it’s not only about you it is also about them. So when you have a great time or service provided tell somebody or come back to that establishment with somebody new. In today’s economy we all work so hard for what little people seem to get in return. It goes out the door just as quickly as it comes in and sometimes even faster. You want to know when you spend those hard earned dollars that someone appreciates you giving it to them. A lot of times at the big box stores there is a teenager or a disgruntled employee who doesn’t know you, care about you and is probably texting and really put out that you are even there in front of them wanting service. They just want to get their paycheck and go home. Or the last customer got them upset that they don’t give you the care and attention you deserve because they are still mad with the previous customer. Small Business owners in your community care about you and the money you spend. These small business owners want to develop relationships with you as most of the small business owners live right there in your own community. Evidence from numerous surveys show people receive better customer care and service locally. These businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you get a higher standard of service.
When your small business owners can live and work in their own communities they also want to support various causes for the community at large as well. This all causes a chain reaction of sustaining and linking neighbors, neighborhoods & organizations and strengthens the community as a whole. This beautiful community of harmony then starts attracting others who not only want to come and visit but now they want to live there as well. By supporting locally owned businesses you are supporting those who are vested in the success and health of the community. Now that we have established a relationship with our local businesses you will find that small business owners create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local economy. Financially they contribute more to schools, local charities and community events as well. Plus you are saving the environment by not traveling so far to shop, eat or engage in other communities. What is even nicer is if you have a pedestrian friendly community that allows you to walk or ride bikes connecting your neighborhoods with the business community, helping to reduce our global footprint.
How do I get started in supporting our local business owners? Let’s begin with things we do or need on a regular basis. I am sure you can make a list of things you regularly do but never think about whether those services are provided locally. Let’s say you like massages or possibly need massages for health reasons. Do you know who to go to for this? Do you just look someone up or ask a friend? Do you use a chain store? Are they all the same and do they all care?
There is one person that comes to mind for this service right here in our own local Lawrenceville community. Regina Elvis of Miracles of Massage is one who truly cares about “the issues in your tissues.” She is a Lawrenceville resident and supporter of many community events. She believes in her town and her efforts and more so her time with you.
Let’s see now, everyone has a car don’t they? Do you know a local mechanic? We do “MAXX” and he is honest, hardworking and is not afraid of getting his hands dirty to see what is making that clunking noise. Our list goes on and on and as you look at this two-page story about supporting your local businesses you will notice advertisements of people who support this same effort.
Take Lucy Troutman and her specialty in Antiques. Most of you may remember her as a local Realtor but did you know she also has an Auction house?
Our lovely Sara Poe works as an accountant and volunteers for events, meetings and several things in the community for their success.
Sandra LeMay with Dream Clean of Georgia is so wonderful in her cleaning of homes and companies, you will want her and her team to be the ones helping you with spring cleaning this year.
Go out of your way to buy LOCAL, State & USA. We are all familiar with Diane Sawyer’s “Made in America” segments on ABC’s World News Reports. Whether she speaks on if builders bought just 5 percent more U.S.-made materials, 220,000 jobs would be created or buying locally made furniture and gifts, it has become and is a movement that we all should support. But you can take it one step closer to home and shop, eat and support your local community by spending your money on purpose at local mom and pop shops.
One man in the Lawrenceville community is taking it one step further. Jason Moss of Manufactured in Georgia goes to networking events everywhere offering a crisp $100 bill to those who can name 5 Georgia companies that manufacture products we use all the time. Very seldom does anyone get to name all five. Jason believes in helping Georgia-based manufacturing companies clearly identify their products as being Manufactured In Georgia allowing the end consumer to make an informed choice on their purchases. “Our educational-minded ad campaigns and promotional events will build consumer awareness and branding that will produce an increase in sales for Georgia manufacturers” he states. Increased sales will lead to higher production demand and will allow manufacturers to create more jobs within their companies. He would like for you to attend the Georgia Manufacturing Expo at the Gwinnett Civic Center where you will receive FREE SAMPLES from some of Georgia’s top manufacturers. You may also be entered in drawings for great prizes like a house full of carpet or possibly a new bed. At the Manufacturing expo you will learn about hundreds of great products that are manufactured right here in Georgia. Industry leaders will provide special training sessions where you can learn about starting your path to a Career in Manufacturing. This event will be held at the Gwinnett Center on June 8th, 2013 from 10:00 am to 6:00pm for additional information go to www.georgiamanufacturingexpo.com.
New Lawrenceville is about supporting the local community our tag line is “Bringing Community Together”. We work hard as volunteers to showcase & highlight the Lawrenceville businesses, residents, and neighborhoods, schools, elected leaders, charities, other networking groups and events.
You can also find us on Facebook.com/NewLawrenceville or Twitter.com/NLawrenceville. We are updating daily and listing everything happening in Gwinnett County. These might help a little. iPhone: http://bit.ly/ZwNhUH & Android: http://bit.ly/10nhpDj. You can also scan the QR Code on these pages as well. If you want a Small Business Mobile App for yourself or your City/County reach out to John Rodriguez of Zojai (Small Business Mobile Apps) directly and let him get you started in the right direction - Visit his website at http://www.Zojai.com. RN