Do you shop small? Why support small businesses?
This “Small Business Saturday” blog goes out to all of the businesses both big and small who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
If I can inspire just 1 person to give their business to one of these little guys, I’ll be happy. 😊
A Kindergarten Lesson in Economics…
Long before I made any money of my own, my parents raised me to support small businesses and have sympathy for “the little guy”.
Mind you, I was really young… 6 or 7… so, other than collecting allowance for doing chores, I didn’t know a whole lot about the economy and business in general.
So, their message was a little lost on me. I recall thinking to myself that I should stick up for the little guy being bullied. I obviously thought my parents were referring to the literal “little guy” on the playground.
That was pretty much a Kindergarten lesson in economics. 😉
Thinking about it now, this accidental metaphor for big bullies isn’t that far off from their intended message. The real world is full of them… big, greedy, money-grubbing bullies.
And so, my family and I pretty much always made a point to give our business to the little guy whether we were dining out or shopping at a local boutique.
Many of those businesses were family-owned and wouldn’t have been able to survive without people like us regularly supporting them. They weren’t profiting large sums like corporations. They thrived on local business.
When we support small business, those businesses can turn around and support another small business which supports another small business and helps to keep a community thriving. It’s really a lovely cycle.
The Lesson Continues…
Years ago, my family had a paper supply company that supplied products to a lot of small, brick-and-mortar businesses like boutique hotels, restaurants, and mom-and-pop shops.
The business was quite successful… because you know… who doesn’t need toilet paper…
When I was finally old enough, my parents let me take over.
Businesses are about people skills… talking to them, assisting them, and making sure they had enough cookies and coffee while waiting for their order. I was a natural. 😉
Then, online shopping erupted and giants like Amazon, WB Mason, and Staples were wiping out the little guys.
I learned the hard reality of Monopoly… and not the one I used to play for fun as a kid. Losing business to the big guy sucks…
To top it off, a hurricane had just hit the town and wiped out many of the local places that my family and I did business with.
Many of them never recovered from that disaster, much like today’s pandemic.
We watched a lot of our customers close up which was so sad to witness.
The big businesses who had the money stuck it out and made even more money… That’s how it is sadly.
I had stuck around just long enough to see how truly devastated the local economy was and the negative effect big businesses had on small businesses.
It reminded me of how important it is to shop local whenever we can.
I can completely empathize with small businesses and try to support them whenever I can, wherever I am whether I’m shopping, dining, or staying at a hotel.
It’s always given me peace of mind. Like I’m doing my part.
[This post was originally posted January of 2021. Updated December of 2022]
Small Businesses Need Our Help
I was sad to learn recently that one of the restaurants I fondly remember from my childhood in California, Pea Soup Andersen’s closed permanently.. a family-owned establishment that has been open since 1924.
I was so sad… not because I can’t live without their pea soup which was.. really good.. it was just one more reminder that the pandemic has taken away so many peoples’ hopes and dreams and livelihood. It’s tragic.
Many businesses will never open again. They won’t recover unless we do something about it.
Later in this blog, I give a few ways to support small businesses and share places I shopped at and received gifts from recently for birthdays as well as for the holidays.
Small Businesses Help Communities Thrive
Think about it.. what is a cute town without its cute shops?
I’m talking about small businesses… Whenever you’ve been to a town that grew on you, it was thanks to them.
The restaurants and shops, little B&Bs and cafes…
Many of them are special gems with no shortage of charm, creativity, and character. It’s usually the brainchild of someone like you or me with a passion and a dream to support themselves on it.
Small Business Owners Are People Like You and Me
Something I really love to do when I’m traveling is getting to know small business owners after I’ve had a nice dining or shopping experience.
I like putting a face to the business. It makes the experience so much nicer and I get to meet some pretty cool people.
The shop owners I would meet are usually hard-working, kind, salt-of-the-earth people, and very humble.
I’m often intrigued to hear where they got their inspiration for their shop or restaurant. They usually always have a great personal story to share. It makes the town grow on me a little more.
Small businesses are what make towns what they are. It’s such a special thing to experience the local flavor of a unique place.
But, the reality is, the little guy often gets overlooked for pricing or inconvenience.
Giving Our Business to the Little Guy
Small businesses are a dying breed and they need our help now more than ever!
In this economic downturn, no matter where you are in the world, this applies. Small businesses, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, the small guy, the shop next door, your neighbor… They all need help.
How Do We Support Small Business?
Our economy grows on small businesses. Instead of going to Amazon, if you can make the same purchase, find a place that sticks out to you and give them your business.
We’re spending money anyway… may as well. It’s nothing extra to us. But, it means the world to them.
Look for them online or drive to your small town areas instead of going to the chain stores for convenience. Hit your “Main Streets USA”.
They’re suffering and need your support. These have been tough times for everyone.
I try to support small businesses instead of a chain whenever I can whether I’m traveling or at home… even before COVID-19.
It’s as simple as choosing to buy gifts at your local boutique, getting a book from a local bookstore (they’re an endangered species), or dining at your local restaurants.
Let’s do our part and help our communities survive during these tough times. Remember, the big guys get bailed out, the little guy’s flounder!
A Few Ideas for Supporting Small Business:
Shop Small Online
Trying to distance yourself from people during the pandemic? That’s ok! You can still support small businesses by shopping online.
Here are a few women and minority-owned businesses. Some of the items that I purchased online along with the packaging that the items came in. The deliveries were great.
*** By the way, nothing in this blog is sponsored. ***
Cruelty-free and Vegan-friendly cosmetics line out of London.
The makeup I ordered came intact, not broken or damaged, even all the way from the UK.
You can shop online here.
Clothing and accessory line out of DC.
So many cute finds here! I’ve shopped here a couple of times now. You can shop online here.
The package was so cute and everything was packaged nicely. The delivery was quick too.
Handmade Bath Products & Candles out of Miami.
They make the most adorable candles, soaps, scrubs for different themes and seasons. You’ll also really love them if you’re into astrology and stones. You can shop online here.
Support this artist and buy one of his t-shirts. He’s based in England. You can listen to his music and shop his website here.
When grabbing a cup of coffee, a drink, or a full meal, avoid chain restaurants, look for the local places in the small towns.
They rely on the business of locals and tourists. Not all of these places are in big cities, a lot are in small towns on Main Streets and are absolutely charming!
The last few months have been nothing but birthdays and holidays, it’s cray-cray!!
Rather than hopping on Amazon and getting someone a gift card, I’ll take my time to go to the shop around the corner and pick out something special instead.
Sure, it would be easier to have something shipped to someone but it’s not about convenience sometimes. It’s about supporting small businesses. They’re people too!
It’s a bonus because I know that the shop could use my business so I don’t mind spending a few extra bucks.
Here are some of the small businesses I found to shop at in the past few months during my travel adventures in New England. In addition to the local foodie finds and B&Bs…
I’ve included the website of each place so you can view their COVID-19 updates and see if they’re open for shopping in person or online.
- The Holy Donut in Portland, ME
Was really surprised that I liked their donuts considering the fact that it’s made with potatoes. When I found out I was like whaaaaa???
- More Than Words Bookstore, Boston, MA
Ipads are great for a lot of things… browsing social media, responding to emails on the plane, watching a movie… but reading? Not me.
I don’t know about you, but I always prefer holding a book in my hand to reading an e-book. It also makes me feel better to buy from a local bookstore than getting a book off Amazon.
They’re going extinct so let’s help keep the bookstores in the US alive! They’re so cute and old-fashioned.
I really like this bookstore in Boston. They have a great selection and the prices aren’t bad either.
What I love about this bookstore is that they’re a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth that are in the foster care system, court-involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business”.
Every donation and purchase helps their mission to empower youth.
- Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops, Bar Harbor, ME
They had a great selection of books. It was nice to walk around this cute town in Maine and then head into here to find some new releases.
- Blackstone’s Gift Shop, Boston, MA
I’ve been in here a few times to do holiday shopping. They even team up with other small businesses in the area to accept returns even if you didn’t buy the item from their shop! How about that.
- Cup of Joes, Portsmouth NH
Stopped in for some hot cocoa after a chilly Winter day holiday shopping. Yummy, yummy! They also serve festive cocktails.
- Putting on the Glitz, Portsmouth, NH
An adorable hat and accessories shop! I stopped in to buy a new hat. It reminded me of the millineries I went to in New Orleans reminiscent of Paris.
- Bubbly Bunny, New Hampshire
They sell over the top, adorable themed soaps, candles, and body oils for every food craving, theme, and special occasion.
My brother got me these yummy artisanal soaps and bath bombs for my birthday. Along with some actual things that I could eat too! He knows me too well. 😂
You can shop online at their site as well as online or in-person at The Maker’s Post, a female-owned business.
- The Burleigh, Kennebunkport, ME
Kennebunkport Inn has a restaurant, The Burleigh which has igloos you can dine in. I couldn’t pass on this opportunity!
They also have ski gondolas that you can dine in too in addition to some fun things like curling and live music on some evenings.
The food was delicious especially their Oysters Rockefeller! I kept ordering more and more… I also enjoyed some other foodie delights and washed it down with a festive cocktail.
- Dock Square Coffee House, Kennebunkport, ME
I grabbed hot cocoa to go. It’s in a nice setting at Dock Square.
- Best of Everything, Kennebunkport, ME
Cute gift shop. So cute in fact that I went a little crazy buying every matching earring, bag, and earmuff, and mask that I could get my hands on.
Probably a good thing that I could only buy as much as my arms could carry or I would have been there all day. I walked out on the streets matching from head to toe!
- Deep River Farms, Deep River, CT
What a charming farm! Like oh my God!! I took a ton of pics that day. It was a lovely stroll… the staff was very friendly.
They let me get a bunch of mini pumpkins for free and let us walk around the farm to check out the animals too.
I bought some apple cider donuts which were delicious! The animals were cute and plentiful. They also sell fresh produce inside.
Support Small Boutique Hotels and B&B’s
I’m a huge proponent of rewards programs for major hotels.
However, when you’re in small towns or places off the beaten path, it’s always great to stay at a local, boutique hotel.
B&Bs and Inns are great ways to experience the local culture and they really appreciate your business especially in these hard times.
- Kennebunkport Inn, Kennebunkport, ME
This absolutely charming hotel was so festive over the holidays!! These are the kinds of quaint B&Bs that magazines are made up of! They even had a snowman walking around to greet guests.
- Inn On Mount Desert, Bar Harbor, ME
I stayed here and it was a nice experience. It even snowed further adding to the idyllic charm of Bar Harbor.
So those are just a few local places you can check out in New England that I experienced! There are so many more.
Let’s help these small businesses get back on their feet wherever we can. You know they’ve lost so much business as it is with COVID-19 forcing them to shut their doors.
I’m not encouraging you to spend your money, that’s not what this blog is about… wait, actually… yes, yes, I am. Hell, I absolutely am!
Spend your money… shop small. These businesses need your help now more than ever. They are drowning.
How do you support small businesses? What are some of your favorite small businesses near you?
Go to my Instagram or Twitter and tag any businesses you think we should be promoting!
Would you like more of this type of content? Or maybe there’s something else you want me to write about?
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