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What small business does better than big brands

It might be the fresh produce, or the service by someone who actually knows your name. All we know is: small businesses have their own magic.



David vs. Goliath

Small business Saturday is fast approaching. Black Friday may be one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but have you ever thought about how much of your money is actually staying within your community? Most studies show that about 48 percent of your dollars stay within your city when you shop at local retailers, versus about 14 percent at chain stores. The money you spend at local stores contributes to secondary spending in your community.

Small business are the lifeblood for many towns. Owners know you personally, which makes your experience even better when you shop in their store. They have the flexibility to make special orders for specific items. One of our local grocers always has better produce because they can be more selective in what they place on the shelf. Local farmers bring small crops to their store, which means we get fresher items.

Small business has its charms

I live in a small town in rural Oklahoma near Grand Lake. We don’t have a lot of shopping opportunities, one or two larger stores, like Walmart and Stage, Dollar General, and a couple of hardware stores. Amazon is my lifeline when I need books or dog toys. Still, I love shopping at the small businesses here in town.

Here in Vinita, we have two or three pharmacies. I could also get my prescriptions through mail order, but I’ve made a commitment to supporting one of the local drug stores. I’ve gotten narcotics, like codeine cough syrup, from the larger pharmacy, but I always feel like they’re suspicious of me. It’s different when I go to the smaller store. Even though they might have to see my ID and have the same regulations, they don’t make me feel ashamed or self-conscience about taking regulated drugs that I have a legitimate prescription for.

One of my favorite experiences with them was when I wanted sugar-free cough drops. She placed them on the order while I was in the store, and the next time I went in, they were in stock. It would be much easier and cheaper to get my medication through the mail order pharmacies of my insurance company, but where does my money go then? I feel like it’s important to keep money local when I can.

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A personal touch

But even when I go to Oklahoma City or Dallas to visit friends and family, I love small businesses. You can’t beat their personal service and the quality of goods you get from these unique stores.

There’s this little farm stand in Bedford where I love to shop. They always seem to have local citrus which just perfumes the air. Sure, you might pay a little more, but sweet oranges and grapefruits are worth it. It always smells so good in there, because the produce is so much fresher than in the larger grocery store.

Next time you go shopping, take time to really make a choice about where you’re going to spend your money. Support local businesses in your community to keep the benefits close to home.


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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.



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