My dad is a small business owner. He took a jump and said a prayer and he opened a meat market the year before I was born. I never forget how long he’s been in business because I always know it’s one year more than me.
My dad has beat the odds for a business like his and has been in business over 34 years. In the same place. But not in the same place. He’s grown. He’s thrived. He’s made a name for himself in El Paso.
The thing is, I didn’t know anything else. I grew up in the store. I worked there. I saw where we got our meat. I saw how “the guys” (dad’s employees, including me) treated customers. It wasn’t till I got into the real world and had to shop at a real grocery store for meat that I realized that my dad had something extremely amazing and unique. Something that I wish I could bring with me everywhere I move because I know it would explode in the communities I’ve lived in.
PEOPLE LIKE QUALITY.
PEOPLE LIKE TO BE TREATED LIKE HUMAN BEINGS.
It’s easy for the “big box” to forget that because if you walk away pissed, the worse that happens if you spout off a couple of mean tweets or you post a Facebook status about how much they suck. Big woop. They could care less and won’t even tell you know not to hit your bum on your way out. You’re easily replaceable.
But that’s the difference when you deal with someone who owns a small business and its owner.
A small business owner pours their heart and soul into what they do. They make sacrifices that can mean working into the wee hours of the morning or waking up well before the sun to make sure that everything’s taken care of. It’s not about money, it’s about the pride they take in everything that goes out the door. It’s about making sure the customer has exactly what he/she needs and being sure that they are so happy they sing your praises. After all, the best advertisement is a happy customer. No amount of Facebook posting will get you anywhere if no one really cares or has heard bad things.
I like to buy local made products when I can. Realistically, I understand that if I tried to buy exclusively US made products my house would be empty. And that’s sad. That’s why we need to support local businesses, even if it means paying a pinch more, it means supporting someone who lives here and makes a product with pride.
Well in celebration of #ShopSmall, an awesome idea started by American Express to promote LOCAL business owners the Saturday after Black Friday (THIS ISN’T A SPONSORED POST), I thought I’d celebrate my favorite small businesses.
In no particular order, here goes:
1) Eastside Choice Meats. If you live in El Paso or drive through there on your way to somewhere else, you have to stop by and get his famous brisket, chorizo, or pick up some burritos for the road. Clearly I’m biased, but if I could, I would totally open a store just like his everywhere I go. If you don’t, you can just “Like” his Facebook page and see the random things I have to say and you can drool over all the pics I’ll be posting during Christmas.
2) abstractionsByaddyeB. I am lucky to know Addye and I adore her. For Ava’s 7th birthday last year, she made her this. I was in awe. And in love. She is truly talented and you can find her art in her Etsy shop. She paints from the heart and she is truly amazing.
3) Sew Curly. Kristina was one of my amazing roommates at Blissdom and I can’t wait till we get a redo because I’d love a Blissdom reunion with my girls. She made baggies like these for the girls. Ava got hers and uses it for everything. I, um, “borrowed” Allie’s because I use it for everything. She also makes incredibly cute pillow cases with names embroidered. She’s posting all of these as ready to ship items especially for tomorrow!
4.) Crocheted Happiness. I had the amazing luck of meeting Susan last week while she was here visiting #2 above. She’s as awesome as her crochet and I was SUPER bummed I didn’t get to go over and have her teach me some skills. Darn sick plaguey children. Her stuff is amazingly beautiful and incredibly affordable. Not like a lot of those people you see on Etsy who want to charge you $50 for a hat. Yeah, no. BTW, I’m gonna be ordering these, Susan. These things are also crazy expensive, which is why I don’t own them. That and it’s Texas so it’s not technically cold but that’s why I just need a show cuff because wool socks would make my legs melt. I push it with boots as it is. Anyway, go visit her.
5.) Last but not least, Jumping Jax Designs. Where do I begin? I love Becca, she’s not only a small business but she’s also a small business owner who is local to me! She’s right here in Central Texas and she’s helped me with blog design (the now defunct-StraightTalkJess), she created the awesome logo for my Running for Daisy campaign, and I just ordered my Christmas cards from her. She is so patient, pays attention to every detail and is sweet as pecan pie. So yeah, blog design, invites, cards, you name it and she does it. And fast! I totally heart her so much.
5.) El Chavo Mexican Products (near Boston). My high school friend Lucy and her husband Alejandro saw a niche in their community that needed attention, that’s how El Chavo was born. Just outside Boston, they carry Mexican products (not just groceries) and have things that most people can’t buy at their local grocery store. Not only that, but they actively engage with and their support community!
So support your “local” business! They may be across the country or across the city, either way you are supporting people who work hard to make a living doing something they love. Happy shopping!