Black Friday is great and exciting and all. I have many memories of hitting up the mall late Thursday nights (my mom driving me of course, she really is the real MVP for that one!) with all of my friends, in a desperate search for some life-changing sale that I couldn’t miss out on. Now that I look back, I probably didn’t save that much money at Forever 21 and American Eagle… but, I think the whole idea of having an excuse to shop past midnight was excitement enough.
But what about Small Business Saturday? The day where we, as shoppers, can appreciate our little downtown go-to places and give them a little extra credit for being… well, small. Small businesses hold a special place in my heart. All of my jobs that I have had since I was sixteen have been at small businesses, so I might be a tad bias. But, the impact they have on the community is incredible. It’s a close bond- having “regular” customers, the friendships with other local businesses, and an immediate connection with your customer because of the passion for your community. They bring a positive atmosphere with quality of business-to-customer relationships. This, in the long run, leads to customer loyalty and more motivation to continue to shop at these little places that bring happiness to shoppers, and comfort right when they are greeted the second they walk in the door.
Small businesses play a major role in the community. It creates individuality, a peek into the passions of those small-business entrepreneurs, and support to the community’s economy overall. By providing thousands of jobs, increased tourism in the area, and ultimately giving back to the community- small businesses are giving back to those in the community in ways that aren’t realized. In a study by Civic Economics in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2012- there is a greater revenue from small businesses in the area compared to the large, national companies. This higher revenue has shown results in benefitting the local economy by producing “more jobs for residents, extra tax revenues for local governments, more investment in commercial and residential districts, and enhanced support for local nonprofits”. Basically- these businesses are doing some serious good for our community!
So with all of that being said, I wanted to share some of my favorite go-to local businesses that I love to visit when I’m either at home or at school! I’m thankful to have lived in two cities that support small businesses and the success that they bring to the community. There are so many to choose from, but here are a few that I always look forward to visiting.
Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe– Columbia, MO
Located in the heart of downtown Columbia on 9th Street- this lime green hole-in-the-wall focuses on “Goodness For All” by serving organic, fresh foods that are made local right in Columbia. The uplifting atmosphere in Main Squeeze is immediate right when you walk in: the vibrant and mismatched decor, the positive and warm faces that work there, and the passion for providing locals with genuine, good-for-you food. Their dishes include foods from different local farms and businesses that form a pretty good meal.
That right there is something that I love noticing local businesses doing-especially Main Squeeze. Partnering with other businesses around town to create something awesome. Whether it be a product, a meal, an event… combining each of their talents and enthusiasm brings benefits not just for their customers, but develops a relationship between the companies.
Onyx Coffee Lab- Bentonville, AR
This place is stunning, really. With locations in Bentonville, Springdale, and Fayetteville, Onyx Coffee Lab is a must-see for anyone visiting Northwest Arkansas. The Bentonville location I pictured above is downtown on the square, and it’s unique interior, welcoming feel, and superior coffee is perfect for visiting with an old friend or a day full of studying. My recommendations- the Onyx Delight to drink, and the egg and avocado toast to snack on.
Muse Clothing– Columbia, MO
This boutique gives shoppers products that are made in the USA, alternative pieces, and trendy inspirations. They provide the ability to step out of your comfort zone with attention-catching cat-eye sunglasses, two piece sets in bold prints and patterns, and vintage-enthused denim. This small-business atmosphere in downtown Columbia motivates big-city fashion. Connecting with shoppers over social media- bringing success on Instagram by sharing new arrivals and fashion inspiration with their products, along with building bonds with customers shopping in store are both huge parts in maintaining this close relationship that can’t be beat.