Long before I was a small business owner, I’ve had a love affair with shopping small and supporting locally owned businesses. Working for a few small businesses and intentially supporting locally owned service and product based businesses over the years and seeing the impact they make on a community was really the catalyst for starting Fishes and Loaves.
As I talked about in Our American Dream, starting our business gives us the opportunity to contribute and further the development of a vibrant local economy. We love living in a dynamic, bustling community that still maintains a small town feel. Like many other small business owners, we live right here in the Lake Norman area and have a vested interest in the health and vitality of our economy. We want to build lasting relationships with our customers, create jobs, mentor others, and give back through charitable organizations.
Small businesses also spur healthy competition among others in their industry. When businesses are constantly striving to offer the most unique and innovative goods and services, consumers benefit with a healthy local marketplace.
As consumers, the money you spend at local businesses goes back into the community. With the holiday shopping season officially kicking off this weekend, you have an even greater opportunity to impact our community by taking part in “Small Business Saturday” and “Giving Tuesday.”
Launched by American Express in 2010 as a way to promote shopping at our local, independent mom-and-pop shops, Small Business Saturday has grown to have as much prominence as it’s weekend retail cousins Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, over 108 million people went out to support local small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and continue to support local retailers throughout the entire year.
Here are just a few ways that “shopping small” benefits our local community (Adatped from Civil Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics).
One way in which local business owners keep money in the local community is by donating to charitable organizations. Here in the Charlotte aera, many local businesses - including Fishes and Loaves - are participating in #GivingTuesdayCLT.
Powered by SHARE Charlotte, #GivingTuesdayCLT is Charlotte's local response to the global #GivingTuesday movement. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and service celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media and generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in local communities. It provides a platform for people to donate their time, resources, and talents to address local challenges.
#GivingTuesdayCLT an unprecedented collaboration of hundreds of Charlotte nonprofits, businesses, community organizations and individuals coming together to support the community we live in and love. From Saturday November 24th through Tuesday November 27th, Fishes and Loaves will be donating 10% of in-store and online purchases to the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.
My family and I are active members of the Lowe’s YMCA here in Mooresville. Besides loving their fitness and youth programs like Group Exercise Classes, Childwatch, Preschool/Afterschool, and organized sports, the facilities under the YMCA of Greater Charlotte umbrella are more than a gym; they are true community gathering spaces and places of motivation, inspiration, and inclusion.
Our local Y’s make the Charlotte area communities better through life-changing programs in areas such:
- Inspiring Youth Potential and Driving Academic Success through their “Y” Readers program. This is a nationally-recognized literacy program designed to help underachieving 1st-3rd graders become proficient in reading by the end of third grade. It is offered at no cost to students and utilizes certified teachers.
- Drowning prevention through the Y’s “Safety Around Water” program. This program engages low-income youth living in local apartment communities where pools are often without lifeguards. It is a no-cost, 8-week course that teaches children basic water safety and swimming skills.
- Livestrong exercise training programs specifically designed for cancer survivors
- Ensuring access and belonging for all. This includes providing financial assistance for membership access and programs. The YMCA’s of Greater Charlotte also work to ensure that everyone in our community feels welcome and fully engaged.
This weekend, trade the crowds, lackluster customer service, and same old products for a more personalized and pleasurable shopping experience - and #dogood for our local community. We can't wait to see you this weekend!