Morehouse Parish residents may find consumers shopping closer to home more than usual this week.
July 1-7 has been nationally declared by America United as “Shop Small Business Week.” This is a time when consumers acknowledge small businesses and shop locally to support local economy.
Ninety-three percent of U.S. Consumers believe it’s important to support the local small businesses that they value in their community, according to The American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor.
“Small businesses are the thread that holds the fabric of our community together,” said Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce director Dorothy Ford. “We should all make an effort to shop locally and support our small businesses.”
The American Express OPEN stated in April that based on how their businesses are performing, more than one-third of small business owners believe the economy is recovering, but they are proceeding with caution and managing their resources more closely by tempering plans for growth, hiring modestly and getting more out of their employees.
Cost Plus owner Jerry Sanders said he’s fortunate to have long-term employees.
“I’ve been here 26 years and my secretary Terri Simpson has been here 23 years. My delivery people have been here nine to 12 years,” Sanders said. “They’re experienced and they know what the customers want and expect.”
Sanders said in order to produce the same results he did “three or four years ago,” he’s having to put in longer hours.
“Insurance and cost of fuel takes away from the bottom line,” he said. “I have to compete with larger companies by having better service and longer hours.”
GQ Fashions store manager Princess Hollins said it’s hard to compete with big businesses when it comes to prices.
“Chain stores get items at a less cost,” Hollins said. “For us to compete, we’re taking a loss.”
Hollins said a main reason for shopping at small businesses is to keep money within the community.
“The better businesses thrive, the more we’re able to offer the community,” Hollins said. “They don’t have to go out of town [to look for goods or services] if they’re helping local businesses thrive.”
Sanders said service is a “very important” reason for shopping at small businesses.
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“We’re able to give personal service that you’re not going to find from a chain group,” he said.
Ford said there are many reasons to shop small businesses, not just during this designated week, but year round.
“Shopping locally supports our local economy by paying local taxes and employing local people,” she said. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our community.”