Online Curriculum, Process, and Community
Just the other day I ran into someone at one of our locally owned restaurants who was asking me about my business, Mercer Island Marital Arts. I was telling her all about what we do, and I happened to mention that I frequent this particular restaurant largely because it is locally owned and as a Mercer Island business owner myself I felt that it was important to support our community. The woman, to my surprise, “gaffawed” at me. So I asked her what she did. It turns out she also has a business that serves Mercer Island, but is run out of Seattle. Although, I don’t currently live on the Island my family does, as well as my business partner, and I felt a little taken aback by this woman’s reaction. It got me to thinking why do I find it so important to support local businesses? You see it all the time, “shop locally” so, how does that help? Myself being a business owner who primarily serves Mercer Island, and has done so for the last 16 years has always liked the idea of the local mom and pop shop. So, I decided to look into it further, and what I found in my research helped me to understand why it’s so important.
Think about New Orleans, here is a community that was ravished by Hurricane Katrina a community that relies very heavily on tourist dollars and local boutique restaurants and shops. In order to rebuild this community the local chamber of commerce encouraged local not national business to come in and reestablish or establish themselves. Why? Because of there interests, their income, taxes, and their employment of locals, all help to rebuild and reestablish a community as well as putting their dollars back into to their community. Locally owned shops also provide opportunities for other local businesses to thrive. For example, when we moved our business from our old location next to True Value to our new location in the 77 Central Building. We hired a local contractor, who hired local workers to help him, we also hired a local architect to help with the design, and a local design shop to help pick out some of our design elements. The big chains typically put big dollars in another's pocket or worse they ship their profits over seas.
Now, I know that Mercer Island is not going to ravished by a hurricane anytime soon But you can ask yourself, why do I live here? Why do I work here? What makes this community special? Partly it’s the schools, partly it’s the beautiful park like setting, partly it’s the convenience of having a downtown business center. Now, ask yourself which would you rather have in your community a bunch of national chains who's corporate interests are somewhere in California, Arizona, or even Seattle or a bunch of small, quaint, boutique style businesses who’s owners, operators, and employees are interested in keeping our community strong, and beautiful? Many communities fight to keep large corporations like Walmart from coming into their communities because they drive out small and even medium sized businesses. Walmart is not likely to ever come to Mercer Island; however, these smaller national chains or franchises do damage to our small business as well. So, why should I care that someone comes in to our town and sells their products or services? I care because I have invested my time, love, blood sweat, tears, as well as my life savings in this Mercer Island community and as a small to business owner I take pride in my product. Now, my product is not something that in necessarily tangible. My product is the young child who no longer gets bullied at school, my product is the woman who feels safe walking around downtown Seattle, my product is the over 40 year old male who just got into the best shape of his life and is no longer at risk of a heart attack, my product is the teenager that just got into their first choice college largely due to the confidence I have helped instill in her. Well, you get the picture, and I know that other locally owned and operated businesses feel the same way about their products. Whether that be a hand made piece of clothing, the interior designer, the wine shop, or even a local restaurant. These are the men and women who take pride in our community. Who make our local economy run, who employ a disproportionally higher percentage of the work force, and who help to keep our Mercer Island the way we like it. So, please next time you are out and about, looking for a service, place to eat, or item for your house or person shop locally.
Here's Some Stats:
Small Business Creates New Jobs &
Fuels the Economy.
Over the past 15 years small business has created 21.9 million jobs while large business only created 1.8 million . That means that on average small business creates a new job every 20 seconds.
Small Business comprises 99.7% of all employers and provides 50.4% of jobs in the United States.
Rural areas: Small business provides 66% of jobs
Urban areas: Small businesses provides 80% of jobs