When I was growing up, my father and grandfather ran their own handyman business. After working all week at his day job, my dad would often spend entire weekends doing small jobs with his dad in order to bring in some extra income. When I was about eight years old, he started bringing me along with him for simple jobs – I was his “helper.”
He would have me hold his tool belt and hand him tools as he needed them, and after we finished the job, he would usually take me to Burger King as payment for helping. As I got older, I began learning more and more about different tools and simple tasks and began being a little more than a helper. By the time I was 16, I was able to wire a new light switch on my own, or run the wires to install a new ceiling fan.
While my friends were standing behind the fryer at McDonald’s, I was earning anywhere from $50 to $250 for a day’s work with my dad…thus my respect for small business owners was born!
I held a few different jobs over the years prior to becoming a full time blogger. Most of my employers were idependently owned small businesses; I worked for a construction company, an independent real estate agent and a financial advisor before going to work for Paychex, which happened to cater to small businesses. For seven years, I worked one on one with small business owners to process their payroll and help them with their human resources needs.
When the economy took a turn for the worse, I saw firsthand how a recession effects small businesses…I lost client after client, month after month, as the economy in South Florida continued to falter.
It is now more important than ever for Americans to support small businesses. Each dollar you spend at an independently owned store – whether it be a mom and pop restaurant, a small clothing boutique, that quirky bookstore on the corner, or the neighborhood bakery – that dollar goes directly into the hands of a real person.
Not a corporation.
Each dollar you spend at the local bakery buying baked goods for your Thanksgiving dinner? That money goes directly into the hands of the family running the bakery. It pays their electricity, their mortgage, it puts clothes on their children and food in their mouths.
I love knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life by supporting their business.
There are ways that you can make a difference by shopping small this holiday season – and year-round!
- Buy your baked goods at a bakery instead of a grocery store. Not only will you be supporting a small business, but let’s face it, they taste better too!
- Check out small clothing boutiques instead of shopping at the mall. You’ll often find one of a kind items that aren’t sold in most retail stores!
- Try out that mom and pop restaurant down the street! My favorite Italian restaurants are owned by the families that work in the kitchen. You get authentic, delicious food and the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting someone’s dream of running their own restaurant.
- Look for small toy shops! We have a small novelty toy shop that sells handmade toys that the kids love receiving as gifts. This is also a great way to support local craftsmen!