Small Business Is Powerful Driver Of Local Economy

By: 
Judy Kramer
County Reporter
According to numerous studies reported at www.amiba.net, an average of 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared with less than 14 percent from large chain stores. So, the result of shopping locally rather than in big box stores means more money is available to provide local employment and support local services such as police and fire.  protection. It also helps fund parks and road maintenance.  Prosperous local businesses are more likely to sponsor youth sports, contribute to charities and participate in other civic service.
Several local Warsaw business owners were asked about their versions of the benefits of shopping locally.
Shelley Hare, owner of ReMax of Warsaw, Landing Bistro, Landing Boutique, Grace for the Moment and Team Hare, said that she employs many individuals in her local businesses. She is thankful for the support the local community has given to her as well as to other businesses down town. This helps businesses grow and in turn attracts people to stay, play and shop in the area.
“If there is nothing here we can’t bring them in to our city,” said Hare. “There is a lot of support for each other from local businesses themselves. During Heritage Days, the Bistro wasn’t open so I recommended other places to eat to those I came in contact with.  During that event, there was a lot of traffic from Sedalia. We are coming up and people want to come here. I came here in 1974 and have always shopped locally, and particularly liked the former Courtney five and dime store on Main Street.”
The manager of the Warsaw Antique Mall, at 245 W. Main Street, said the City needs the revenue from sales tax, and that it benefits the community. She said she wished it was easier to shop locally, but she realized that it was necessary sometimes to go to stores out of the area for certain products.  She thought the local area had a lot to offer, and had services available such as medical clinics.
Owners of Bill’s Repurpose, at 233 W. Main Street, said for the most part the biggest share of down town shops are Mom and Pop. That is, they are run by the owners who live locally. They said they were proud of the fact that local businesses helped each other, by referring customers to other businesses if what they were looking for was not available in their own shop. The owners expressed a lot of respect for Mac Vorce who manages the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, and has had a lot of positive results in the business community. They said he recently voluntarily shoveled snow from sidewalks on both sides of Main Street from Seminary  down to The Pottery Shoppe to make it easier for customers to enter shops.
Ruby Humphrey owns the Wooden Wagon antique store. Supporting her business also supports her clients who rent booths in her store, generating income for the business, her clients and more sales tax to be used for the community. Humphrey also contributes to the community by offering some sewing classes to people who live nearby.
“I hosted sewing classes once a week when I owned Mary Jane’s in Clinton, and helped girls and women who hadn’t learned to sew in homemaking classes in school,” said Humphrey. “One of these young women contacted me after she had graduated in Theater and was doing a lot of sewing while working in her field.  She told me that she could name her price for her sewing skills because people in Theater don’t sew like she can.”
Forbes.com put out an article online on November 20, 2017 offering five ways small businesses can benefit from customers who shop locally throughout the year.
The first benefit was that it creates more local jobs. Apparently, local businesses create the majority of economic growth, employing about 77 million Americans and improving stability in communities. Independent businesses create about two-thirds of private sector jobs. Every $10 million of spending at a local business creates 57 jobs, whereas the same spending at Amazon creates 14 jobs at the mega business.
Another benefit is that local shopping enhances diversity. Chain stores often stock shelves that reflect national demands. But a local sporting goods store is more likely to focus on community interests, offering apparel in local school colors, for example. Often local stuff is more interesting than chain store products because they display local characteristics and culture.
Local networks are strengthened by local shopping. Small businesses can provide access to local expertise about products and services that work best in the local geographic area. For instance, a local garden shop can tell you the type of tomato which grows best in the local climate. Thriving local businesses often hire other small businesses to perform support tasks or provide raw materials and resources.  This bolsters networks which can promote further growth.
Shopping locally is also good for the environment.  Consumers who walk to local town centers reduce their use of cars and buses. Local business owners also tend to be more civic-minded.
Neighborhoods served by successful small businesses see home values increase 50 percent on average. As real estate prices grow, communities can attract new investments to spur continued economic growth which, increases local tax revenue. 
 

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