Shop Small. Shop Local. Cliché or Consequential?

We’ve all heard of Small Business Saturday because it’s gained traction in recent years. How many of you actually participate in Small Business Saturday? How many of you truly know the impact of purchasing from small, locally owned & operated businesses?

Pre-pandemic, you may have tried to shop local, sometimes. Mid-pandemic, you may have been forced to visit small businesses in search of those elusive commodities, such as, toilet paper and bottled water.  While we aren’t quite “post”-pandemic, we’d all like to think that we’re heading in that direction, but many of those mom & pop shops didn’t survive the “unprecedented times”.  

As an entrepreneur, I’d like to share my personal perspective. It’s a sentiment that has been echoed from many small business owners, especially recently.

     Like many entrepreneurs, I worked a day job, a part-time night job & a weekend job, while laying the proverbial foundation for my business. I’m also a mom & wife, aka, a maid, cook, nurse, friend, teacher, accountant, personal shopper, taxi driver & much more.  I didn’t have the luxury of family fortune, hitting the lottery, independent wealth or even financial backing. I worked many, long, hard hours. I invested my heart, soul & cold hard cash into my dream while juggling a family of 5.  For 3 solid years, I exerted every ounce of energy, drained every dime of savings & never slept a wink. Ok, maybe I slept a wink…on rare occasions, but never more than one wink.  

Eventually, all of these sacrifices paid off.  

I became a full time business owner and gradually quit my part time gigs.

With continued dedication, sacrifice & hard work, my business flourished.

We grew. 

We hadn’t just built a business; we built an online following, we built a brand, we built relationships with customers, we built what so many others have tried to build, but failed. 

We’ve thrived for the last 5 years.

My Sweet Caboose provided jobs in our community, opportunities for young, aspiring entrepreneurs, income to my family, a resource for the dietary restricted, and above all, friendships. I’ve met some of the most incredible people, that I wouldn’t have otherwise crossed paths with, had it not been for my business.

For the last several months, businesses have been hit especially hard; the economy, new tax laws, government regulations, labor costs, decreased workforce, exponentially increased expenses, inability to obtain ingredients, packaging & basic necessities.  The combination of these hurdles will certainly be a death sentence for many small businesses that haven’t quite recovered from the detriments of Covid shutdowns & mandates.

Small Businesses are struggling now, more than ever.  Most are on the cusp of bankruptcy or permanent closure.

Small Businesses don’t have the comfort of unlimited marketing funds, they don’t typically have the option of cutting expenses in one area to spend elsewhere. The reality is, small businesses are at a huge disadvantage, financially- higher taxes, lower bargaining/buying power, higher overhead costs, lower production abilities, these factors directly affect our prices.
While, you may get a less expensive cake from a grocery chain than your local baker, you’re also cutting the quality of ingredients, transparency, originality, the ability to communicate with your baker and a direct contribution to your local community.

Perhaps, you didn’t grasp the magnitude of your patronage to small businesses before, but I hope this has given you some insight.

Shopping local isn’t cliché for us, it’s extremely consequential.  

Every time you choose the convenience, cost & comfort of large corporate purchases, you’re closing the doors to another family business, eliminating an entire staff’s livelihood and dashing another American dream.

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