Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, flowers for an event or an antique frame, mom-and-pop shops have your back with their wide selection of personalized products and services. They’re also a huge driver of your local economy. According to the Small Business Administration, there were about 31 million small businesses in the United States in 2020. These small businesses employ about 60.6 million workers.
To celebrate all that these businesses bring to our communities, March 29th marks “National Mom-and-Pop Business Owner’s Day.” The term “mom-and-pop shop” refers to locally owned businesses, which are often run by families. This day allows you to take a moment to honor these small business owners and show your support.
What Are Mom-and-Pop Shops?
The term “mom-and-pop shops” refers to small, family-owned businesses. Generally, they operate in a single location. These shops are often restaurants and retail businesses.
Understanding Mom-and-Pop Stores
Historically, the term “mom-and-pop shops” referred to family-owned drug stores, general stores and grocery stores. However, over-time the term began applying more broadly to small family-owned businesses.
These small shops often struggle to compete with big box retailers. For instance, large retail stores like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, can reduce customers for smaller local ice cream shops. However, recently there has been a push to help small businesses. Events like Small Business Saturday have increased support for mom-and-pop shops as well as other social media campaigns.
Why Is It Important to Support Mom-and-Pop Shops?
Mom-and-pop shops come in many forms, from restaurants to bookstores to automotive repair centers. Each one brings unique products, services and knowledge to your local community.
Small businesses like these are important because they:
- Create jobs
- Give back to the community
- Keep money in your neighborhood economy
- Increase tourism
- Help you create community relationships
- Offer more personalized customer service
- Increase your access to diverse products
- Focus on providing quality items
7 Ways You Can Support Mom-and-Pop Stores
Not sure how to support mom-and-pop businesses in your local community? Luckily, with the help of your buying power, making a local economic impact is easier than you may think. To get started, follow our seven tips below.
1. Use social media. You can share your favorite mom-and-pop shop’s website on your social media platform. You can also comment on their social media pages about your positive experience and encourage others to shop there. You can also use their business’ hashtag to help give them a visibility boost on platforms like Instagram. On National Mom-and-Pop Business Owner’s Day, use the hashtag #MomPopBusinessOwnersDay to help support your favorite small businesses.
2. Write positive reviews on their website. If you loved a product or had great service from a small business, go on their website and write about it.
3. Stop or reduce your shopping at big online retailers. Warehouse stores offer a wide selection of products, but small mom-and-pop shops can help you find items that are unique and of higher quality. Shopping small not only helps mom-and-pop shops but also your local economy.
4. Tip extra. Providing a tip is often expected at certain businesses like restaurants. However, giving a little extra can help support small business’ staff and keep them working hard.
5. Buy their gear. You can support any business by buying their T-shirts, mugs and other gear with their brand name on it. This helps them earn extra cash, and it also gives them free advertising when you wear or use the merchandise in your community.
6. Keep your memberships. Whether it’s for a gym or local tutoring business, keeping your membership active can help support a small business. This is especially important during slow periods or months where they have less customer traffic. Keeping your memberships during COVID-19 can be especially helpful.
7. Stock up on items you’ll need later. This could be groceries for your freezer or gifts for birthdays in the next few months. Paying small businesses now can help them through tougher times, like during COVID-19. You can also buy gift cards for your friends and family. This can be a good way to help a business gain new customers.
Other Key Considerations for Shopping Small
When you’re thinking about shopping small, keep these other things in mind.
- Big retailers don’t always have the cheapest prices. Sometimes, small businesses can offer higher quality items at lower prices. You’d be surprised at what you can find.
- You’re positively impacting the lives of those in your community. When you buy items or services from a larger corporation, you don’t really see or know who is benefiting. However, when you shop at a locally owned store, you’re helping a family or business owner that’s a part of your community. In fact, 67 cents of every dollar you spend at a small business stays in your local community.
- Small businesses care more about your experience. Local mom-and-pop businesses not only focus on providing quality customer service, but they’re also a good resource where you can learn about what they specialize in. These business owners and their staff can be easier to reach for advice about products, services or expertise.
- Mom-and-pop shops give your community character. Having only large retailers or companies in your local community reduces the options you have for products and services. Mom-and-pop shops can help bring in unique items that you wouldn’t find otherwise. It also gives your community its own personality and creates interesting places for visitors to go.
- Small businesses have to work harder to retain customers. In this spirit, they often offer special perks and discounts. You should also look for loyalty programs that can help you save. Small business owners are also more likely to special order items for you.
Shopping at small businesses supports more than just your local mom-and-pop shops. It helps you build a stronger community and local economy. So, the next time you’re looking for the perfect gift, or you need supplies for a project, consider shopping small to make a big impact.