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Supporting Small Business is a Win-Win

Growing Community

May 3, 2023

Owning and operating a small business comes with many ups and downs. The past three years are a testament, not only to the challenges but to the strength and endurance of a small business owner. These are people that put their heart, soul, and many times, their life savings into creating a business that can serve their community.

And speaking of community, did you know that these locally owned businesses step up to the plate and support their towns with donations throughout the year? Not only do they give generously, but many also choose to volunteer their time at their Chamber of Commerce, local nonprofits and more. That alone is a great reason to shop local but there are so many other benefits. Consider this. First and foremost, you'll be supporting the hardworking owners of that store — people who have worked countless hours to create something that they truly believe in. These small business owners live in your community, pay taxes in your city and raise their children in your schools.

Being an owner of two small businesses and seven employees, I can attest to the lack of sleep — especially during the pandemic. One of the businesses, juldesign, inc., creates branding and marketing primarily for other small businesses. In a challenging year, marketing, unfortunately, is usually the first budget item cut. QB Studios Custom Apparel & Promotions relies on people getting together — fundraising walks, corporate apparel, sporting events, family reunions and more. As we all know, no one was getting together, and life as we knew it got cancelled. And here I was, no business coming in and employees who had families to care for.

As I stared at the ceiling night after night wondering how we were going to save my life’s work and keep my employees on payroll, I decided we needed to pivot. We started making custom face masks. Who stepped in to purchase? Businesses like Karl Chevrolet. They bought them for their employees. But they also took that one step further. They partnered with a local coffee shop, bought the coffee for the patrons that day and we handed out masks to all. That was a great day.

Small Business Staff

Another business here in town heard of our struggles and was instrumental at spreading the word. We had people who didn’t need shirts until the pandemic was over, but they ordered them early to keep my employees employed. That was another great day.

Several small business owners (and Chamber members) got together and created shirts to raise money for struggling companies. Hy-Vee partnered in and sold the shirts in their two Ankeny stores. The response was overwhelming.

Businesses supporting other local businesses are a step in the right direction, but they truly need more. Shopping locally is necessary for a thriving community.

What You Can Do

Local businesses care about you. You should care about shopping locally. Share your favorite spots on your social media. Give a shout out to a business that went over and above what you expected. Tell all your friends and coworkers about your great find at a boutique or share the latest flavor at the coffee shop.

There is clear evidence that shopping locally can benefit your local economy, as well as your community. Small businesses are the backbone of a city's economic health, acting as an employer and helping to keep your city vibrant. You never know when you might need the services of another small business! It's wise to promote this cycle of growth. This will also let you get personally involved in your community, become familiar with businesses in your area and better understand their needs. It truly is a win-win for all and can make everyday a great day.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership celebrates the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur community and helps small businesses succeed with one-of-a-kind resources and opportunities for networking. Find out how other entrepreneurs have found success by reading their stories and attending local small business events in the region.

Julie (Juls) Mangels

Julie Mangels is Queen Imagineer at julsdesign, inc. and QB Studios Custom Apparel and Promotions.