I was planning on another topic for this week’s post, but several conversations I’ve had this week and an article in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune helped to change my mind. I’m hoping to get you think a little more about where you chose to shop in the future.
I am a proud small business owner. Many people thought I was crazy to open up a high end boutique in the middle of an economic recession. My gut told me that there were many other women out there like me, who wanted to spend their money on something unique and not just another purse you saw everyone else wearing. It’s too soon to know if my gut was right, but I know that I have struck a chord with many people who have already discovered my store.
Many small business owners are struggling right now. We can’t compete with the big box stores and online retailers for prices, but we provide personal service that those places can’t. We have survived many new fancy mall openings and new chain stores coming to SLC. Our goal is not just to make money, but we hope to become an important contributor to our communities. Many of us donate to local schools and charities. Most of us are active in our church and schools. Many small business owners don’t even pay themselves, in the efforts to make sure the business survives. I don’t remember bank CEOs forgoing pay when we were bailing banks out with taxpayer’s millions.
We need your help. As this Mother’s Day comes up and you are thinking about what to get your loved ones, think about where you will be spending your money. More of your dollar spent at a local business goes back to your community than the same dollar spent at a national chain store. When going to the fancy malls, visit the local shops surrounding the malls and not just the stores in the malls. We don’t have million dollar advertising agencies helping to spread the word about our shops, but we do have our loyal customers telling their friends about us.
So go out there and shop, but shop with a purpose. To show your local small businesses that you are glad they are here and that you value what they bring to Salt Lake City. We are not a city that will be defined by the chain stores, we will be defined by the thousands of mom and pop shops that know you by name and love this city in ways those national chains never could.