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How We Can Build Strong Communities


You may have heard it said that “small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities.”  In fact, 50% of the working population in this country is either employed by or owns a small business.  Amazing isn’t it?  Every year, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to celebrating small, independent businesses across the country.  What a great opportunity to support your local businesses, and here’s why…

Think Outside the Big Box

You may naturally assume that prices will be cheaper in big box stores (i.e. national brands).  In some cases this may be true, but a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is what it is.  Any store can offer sales, and small businesses often do, especially during the holiday season!  Large box stores carry a lot of different product lines but they don’t necessarily have the variety of offerings that a smaller store (especially one that specializes) will have.  If you’ve ever been to an independent toy store, you know what I’m talking about.  You’ll see things there you’ve never seen anywhere else.

Great Customer Service

Small Businesses are often “passion” projects; built by the sweat and toil of families, some multi-generational.  I have found small business owners typically know a lot about their products, and have a higher degree of enthusiasm for them, too.  And the neat thing about small businesses is that because there are fewer degrees of separation between the person helping you and the people in charge, things tend to get done quicker.    

Bigger Than You Think

Check this out.  For every $100 spent in a local, independently-owned business, $68 goes right back to the local community.  When you spend at a corporate store, that number drops to $43.  And the taxes you pay at a small business, that money stays in your community too, directly benefiting schools, police, and roads.


When you consider what’s special about your town, you probably don’t picture big box stores, because let’s face it, you can find those anywhere.  That’s the whole point.  There’s nothing unique about them.  Travel down any “Main Street” type of downtown (e.g., Holland, MI where my wife grew up) and you will see a truly unique and historical backdrop that is part of our rich history.  And on this same “Main Street” are many small businesses, made up of people in our community who need our support.  I travel quite a bit and I decided a few months ago, that I would do my best to frequent locally owned restaurants instead of national franchises.  And you know what; there are some great locally owned restaurants out there.    

As we enter full steam into the holiday season, this is a perfect time to support the small businesses in your community.  Our small businesses are made up of more than retail shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and chiropractors.  Many of them are run out of the home, so remember your friends who sell various services, food, clothing, and other items from home.  Let’s do our part to help the people in our community prosper this holiday season!


Your Virtual Life Mentor,



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