Over a year ago now there was a group of chamber members and concerned small business owners who came together to talk about what it means to do business in a small community. These business owners are some of the most generous people this area has to offer, always giving to important causes and supporting local sports teams or other youth oriented activities.
There is a cycle that is supposed to work.
Many of these businesses were starting to notice a dangerous shift in mindset that was throwing off the cycle that is supposed to work. This cycle is so dependent on all the parts to work that it is difficult to pick which part to start with, since all of them are equally important. Let's just start with Building A Better Community. This first step, is really an ongoing goal, the idea that keeps the cycle turning. It's what should prompt the community to act and should be a conscious business decision. In this cycle Building A Better Community directs the community in supporting local businesses. These businesses are what make our community unique and they notoriously keep local dollars spent local. With the action of the Community Supporting Local Business we start to see Local Small Businesses Succeed. They may be able to employ more people or they might be able to improve local infrastructure through repairs made to their building. But ultimately Local Small Business Success should lead to those Businesses Generously giving to their community. The cycle can grow and blossom and have profound impacts.
But does this happen here?
With the Main Street closed many of our small businesses that occupy our downtown are feeling the pinch. Sales are down, way down. Joe & Jenn of Padrone's Pizza & Pub have a business downtown that has been greatly effected. They have, however, also experienced something tremendous during this difficult time: the cycle at work. Some of their best customers have reached out and have showed up during this time of need. A local patron recently came and bought hundreds in gift cards to give to co-workers this Christmas and decided to all bless the hard-hit serve staff and bar tenders by leaving a hefty tip. Even a local "Big Bad Corporation" ordered a large number of pizzas to feed their staff, saying something along the lines of, "you guys have always been good to us and we want to help you out." This is community at work, this is the cycle making its way around to complete the circle. Joe and Jenn believe the out pouring from their patrons and from the community can be attributed to their efforts of supporting the community over the past 10 years they have been in business in Greenville, PA.
Recently in a meeting with other downtown businesses, Joe mentioned the need of addressing the community in starting local. Unknowingly, what Joe is proposing is the very thing those businesses first mentioned were working on. We are having our "for such a time as this" moment.
It's time to launch our START HERE campaign. A couple of points to get the ball rolling:
- It's about educating both businesses and community with the hopes of creating good locally minded habits.
- We understand that our local small businesses do not have everything and will not meet all of your needs, but the idea behind it is in the name, we should at least "Start Here". Start local and get what you can from your small businesses... make that part of your routine.
- There are many reasons why Buying Local Matters. Keep an eye out for campaign materials sharing those points. They will be on posters, post cards, and businesses cards for you to keep in your wallet as a reminder.
There is work to do.
Creating habits like starting local before your go some where else is not easy. It is sometimes changing years and years of "convenience" excuses and apathy. But why don't we start finally? So let's start here.
Keep supporting your downtown businesses who are hurting right now. Let's make a concerted effort to keep them alive, especially those who have demonstrated their part in the cycle: Business Generosity -> Building A Better Community