How do you define home? Is it the physical space that surrounds you? Maybe it’s the people who bring you the most comfort? Or maybe, it's a combination of both. Could it be that home is found in commiserating with your neighbors about how bad traffic is on Main Street during rush hour? Does it find you in the smell of grilled onions and greasy french fries that is from your favorite hot dog stand? Is it how everyone says “Ope” and offers a warm smile as you pass on the street? Or, in the city, the warmth of intentionally avoiding eye contact with everyone else? What is home? For us, home is community. It's our neighbors, it's the small, local businesses, it's the culture, history, and prospective future that give home its unique identity. Whether it’s a family owned remodeling company (like us!) or a cozy, kitschy boutique where you find the best clothes in town, small businesses matter.
A Foundation In Strong Community
For many communities, local businesses are the ties that bind people together. This bond goes beyond sentimentality. Statistically, small businesses are responsible for providing 47.5% of all U.S. jobs. That’s nearly half the working population! They’re also credited with creating 1.9 million new jobs in 2018. That means, despite the risk, small businesses are growing and trying to help the community grow with them. Within that community growth, when small businesses are supported, they also help strengthen the local economy. It’s been found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 returns to the community. However, when you shop big business, only $43 returns. That’s a $25 difference!
Even if we ignored the stats supporting how local businesses strengthen your community, they’re still an important part of the mosaic for other reasons. For example, OHi, has been a family business since 1900. In those years of service, we have serviced countless clients to help make their homes the perfect backdrop for all the golden memories created with their families. Just like OHi, other local businesses strive to be a part of the community for a lifetime as they hold a personal stake in the community as well. For a big business, the community is simply a market that needs to be tapped into. For us, the community is family. It’s our home. I live here, our employees live here, and our clients live here. Without a strong community, our lives would be lacking.
Due to the personal stakes local companies have in their community, Grasshopper.com highlights how local businesses tend to donate and give back to the community far more than big businesses. Oftentimes, local businesses know the needs of their community. For example, just about every Little League baseball team at your local park district is sponsored by at least one local business. Or if you run in a local 5K, typically you see the logos for many of the small businesses that banded together to help support that cause. Likewise, OHi finds great pride and joy in supporting the communities we serve. Recently, OHi partnered with the local school district to help guide and teach high school students interested in the field how to design a home. Watching our local high schoolers grow and assisting them while they learn this specialized trade is an investment we were excited to make! Communities matter, and the small businesses that support those communities matter.
How to Support Local Small Businesses?
Leave a Review
Even though Amazon and other big box stores reign supreme in the commerce arena, there has been a noticeable push in our culture to support small, local businesses. There is a considerable amount of satisfaction in supporting something that keeps your family, friend, or neighbor employed. Contrary to the mass-production in big businesses, embracing the creative risks of local shops can provide you with a sense of connection to your community. Surely, there are other ways to support local businesses beyond shopping. Supporting businesses by word of mouth is just as important as using our services. For many local businesses, a stellar review on Google can be a game changer. When you share important details and why you loved the product or service, it helps validate that business for those who stumble upon it during a Google search.
Deeply tied to social sharing, is remembering small businesses when your friends ask for recommendations. Or, if you're in a local Facebook group, such as the Arlington Heights Moms group, be sure to share the link to your favorite small business when others ask. Go one step further and share about your purchase or investment on Facebook, by posting pictures of it in real time. For example, one of our clients is an avid supporter who, based on the multiple posts she’s tagged us in on Instagram and Facebook, isn’t afraid to share the love. Small businesses deeply value that kind of added support.
Engage with Media Outlets
Another great way to support local businesses is to help them gain recognition for their quality. One media source that provides an excellent outlet for this endeavor is the Daily Herald newspaper. Not only has it been a voice for many local businesses, and current happenings in the Chicago suburbs, it also provides opportunities to showcase and celebrate those businesses. For example, every year, they publish a section called the Readers’ Choice. The public has a few weeks to vote for their favorite business in a variety of categories, and the top five winners in each category get to be featured as a Top Pick. Not only does this allow for collective love and engagement from passionate clients, but it also brings these businesses to the forefront of other people's attention. In 2019, OHi received not one, but two coveted spots on the Readers’ Choice Top Picks list. Needless to say, we are humbled and overwhelmed by the support of our friends and family.
In whatever way you decide to support local small businesses, I guarantee it will make a huge difference.