Supporting Small Businesses

Recently our local town hosted the Fall River Small Business Expo sponsored by Scotiabank. We were one of many local businesses there. It is amazing what people do from locally, from home and/or in their part time.

As many readers will know, it is so vital to support small businesses, however tempting it is at times to buy from cheaper, larger companies. Often small business offer that ‘value-added’
factor that is well worth the extra pennies you may pay off the top. And, in my experience, the quality of product and services offered are so much better too.

Take for example a conversation I had with a woman last week when selling my jewellery at a shopping evening. When looking at our prices (which were VERY reasonable, especially for the bead woven pieces that take HOURS to make!) she commented about the earrings she had on, similar to a pair on our display.

Her earrings were purchased in a popular retail chain store for under $10.00. They appeared pretty, no doubt. But on closer inspection the ‘stones’ were glued off-center, the beads were all plastic, and the findings were pretty poor quality. They were not destined to be cherished and worn for much longer.

Then I began to talk about the earrings I had made. How I handcrafted the wire findings which were made of top quality non-tarnish wire. That the ‘stones’ were lead crystal. That the seedbeads were Miyuki and very uniform in size, so they lined up neatly in straight lines. That mine came packaged in a handmade box, ready for gift-giving. That if anything went wrong with them that I would replace and repair them free of charge. That if she didn’t like them in this color, I could make them especially to suit her tastes. And so on…

To me that is the difference in shopping with small businesses. They are passionate, personal and really care about their relationships with customers. I would rather pay a bit more to support a small business than give my money to a large conglomerate who pay the majority of their workers minimum wage and take the profits for themselves. I am even more aware of it now as a business owner myself. I eat, breathe and sleep beads-fret over slow days and celebrate great days. I worry about paying the bills and agonize over how much more to invest. I am upset if a customer is not pleased. It is who I am and its success is my success. I now recognize that in other peoples’ ventures too, and understand how much my support means to them and their business.

Of course, we all go to the large stores sometimes, especially in these economic times when money is tight. But if possible, let’s support our small businesses. Many small businesses have moved online and are able to offer you competitive prices with the convenience of shopping when you want to and without jumping in the car and battling the traffic!

I suppose we fit into this model-as a small, retail shop we would be unable to compete with the prices of the large, big-box stores and pay the rent and utilities for a commercial property. I do miss having the face-to-face contact with customers that a retail store affords however. In saying that, Brian and I have met many customers when out on deliveries and at local expos. I also correspond with some wonderful people by email, and even though we have never met face-to-face I feel a kinship with them.

Small Business packaging

So on behalf of many small businesses-locally, nationally and online-a big THANK YOU for your support and encouragement as our businesses develop and grow:) Every customer’s order means so much to us and we feel privileged you choose to shop with us!

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