By Bradley Finnearty
Why should you save money to shop small this holiday season?
Now more than ever it is important to shop small this holiday season. I wrote an article in June about how COVID Changed America, in that article I talked about how employees and people, in general, have realized that they do not have to stay in the corporate world in order to support their families. A lot of those people have decided to start their own businesses. To make it on their own. That is hard to do in good economic times, let alone in a pandemic.
According to zenbusiness.com statistics published in 2019 by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about twenty percent of business startups fail in the first year. About half succumb to business failure within five years. These small business owners are your neighbors, friends, and family trying to make a life out of a dream. They should be supported.
The COVID shutdowns hurt small businesses badly
I am like most people who do not understand how shutting down small businesses while letting big box stores such a Walmart, K-Mart, and others operate helped reduce the pandemic. You have 800 to 900 people going into a store threw a reduced number of entrances was supposed to help reduce the chances, but a small business with 10 customers, maybe, at a time was dangerous. I still don’t understand.
That was a devastating thing to small businesses around the nation. Then when they were allowed to open, even if they were still in business, they have the issue of employees who do not want to come back due to COVID fears, or the fact that they started their own adventure.
Not that all of that was not enough they now have to compete with businesses who can pay the higher wages that are prevalent in today’s business arena. Some simply cannot afford the $15 an hour that is being paid. It is clear that what is good for employees is not necessarily good for small businesses.
Make this holiday season memorable
The question is do after the last two years and chances are you did not even get to see your family last year, do you want to run out to a big box store and “pick something up” to fill your shopping list? I am sure you have heard news stories about a supply chain problem throughout the country. There are some problems if you go into the big box stores with outages and things like that.
That is just another reason to shop small on Saturday. Small businesses in most cases either make their own product or buy local and sell it. In other cases, they may be selling name-brand products but are not running into the problems plaguing the big guys.
A great example is if you have a bowling fanatic at home. Someone who loves the sport loves looking at or buying new equipment. Why not go to a local pro-shop in your area and get them a gift certificate? How about a new shirt? Does your favorite bowler need new shoes? Wouldn’t a Christmas gift that fits your loved one’s personality be better than a “grab something at the story” gift?
Local specialty stores have great gifts
Using the example of bowling pro-shops, you can see how just a little thought and a little time talking to the owner of the business can help you give a great gift.
The Columbus Ohio area has several great pro-shops to choose from. You can choose from Stromie’s Pro Shop on Sawmill Road, Capri Lanes Pro Shop on Roache Drive inside Capri Lanes, and more.
My two favorites are Tom Carters Pros Shop and Training Center inside Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl on South High Street. Tom is a member of the PBA and is active in the PBA 50/60 Tournaments. He is a very friendly guy and willing to talk when you go into his shop. I have spent some time talking to him about the old-time bowlers, at least to us. People like Brian Voss, Wayne Webb, Marshall Holman, and others. I own one of his pro-shop bowling shirts and love it. It is comfortable and easy to bowl in. He also offers bowling lessons from beginner to more advanced.
The other is TV Bowling Supply inside Holiday Lanes in Columbus. It is owned by touring PBA members Michael Tang and Chris Via. People that I have talked to cannot say enough good about this place, and the two owners. On a recent visit, a fellow came in to get a new ball and was able to have it drilled right then. He told me that is one of the things he loves about the place. He said, “most other places will tell you to come back the next day to pick your ball up, that does not happen here.”
I have to say that my experience was the same. I thought when I purchased a new ball from them that I would have to come back, but Michael drilled it for me right then. All three of the people at TV Bowling Supply are friendly and knowledgeable about the sport. It does not hurt that Chris is one of the hottest players on the tour today.
Every small business needs you
The above are great examples of small businesses that can help to make your holiday shopping easier and more enjoyable. Every small business has the potential to do that though. It just depends on the interests and tastes of the people in your life.
It is easy to go to a big store and pick up something but is it something that will make your loved one smile? Will it be something they remember? Will it be something they will show their friends that they got? These are the things that small businesses can provide. They need you just as much as you need them. They have families to feed. They have bills to pay. They have dreams they are trying to fulfill. Help them out.
Oh, and don’t help them out by thinking that just because they are a small business, they can cut you some slack on the price. Remember, they have to pay for that product you just purchased.
My personal final thoughts
Another thing to realize is that if you purchase from small businesses, you are not only supporting them you are telling big corporations that treat their employees badly that you won’t support them. Believe it or not even in this environment that makes it hard for employers to get employees there are still big companies and employers who treat their employees with contempt. Some have come a long way in understanding not to do that, but the biggest offenders of it, are still doing it. I know right, hard to believe. I would rather support the small mom-and-pop when possible than let those companies believe that type of behavior is okay. Just saying.