Small businesses play a critical role in creating jobs, driving economic growth, and contributing to the overall well-being of rural communities. In many areas, they are the backbone of the local economy, providing essential goods and services.
Spring offers a good reminder of the importance of these entrepreneurs' contributions, with National Small Business Week, Small Business Month, and other recognitions celebrated in May.
For consumers, it’s a great time to research what’s available in their community, instead of hitting the road to shop at larger chain stories. Directories and websites listing local businesses can be a good starting point, in addition to local newspapers and social media, as small businesses often use them to advertise their services.
It’s important to be patient, as some local businesses do not have the same selection as larger chains and may need to make an order. But, they almost always offer unique products not available elsewhere. Here are some examples:
- Local farmers markets: Farmers markets are the place to find fresh produce, and artisanal food products like cheeses, baked goods, and jams.
- Independent bookstores: These businesses offer a curated selection of books, often with a focus on local authors and topics.
- Craft breweries and distilleries: Increasing in popularity, many of these businesses offer unique, locally made beers and spirits.
- Clothing boutiques: Independent boutiques often offer unique, locally made clothing and accessories.
- Home goods and decor shops: These shops can offer unique and interesting products that are locally made, often with a focus on sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
- Locally-based services: Businesses such as local grocery and hardware stores, salons, restaurants, and other services keep small communities thriving.
When consumers shop locally, everyone wins, as the money stays in the community, supports other local businesses, and contributes to the overall economic health of the area.