Molly Jones-Kerchner, Director
I think we can all agree that supporting small and local businesses is important. Something we may struggle to understand is how to do so. Throughout my time with the Ellensburg Downtown Association, I have had the pleasure of being educated on this topic from small business owners themselves. Along the way, I’ve learned many ways to support small businesses.
Here are three that I would like to share.
Take advantage of deals and discounts but don’t feel entitled to them.
Small business owners are constantly expected to discount their products or services. While it might seem like a reasonable request, think of it this way: say your friend owns a small business. That friend has put in years of prep work, pays for the rent, utilities, and upkeep of their location, pays employees a respectable wage, sets money aside each year to invest back into the community, hosts events, maintains a beautiful storefront, and is dedicated to finding the most reasonably priced yet quality products possible to bring to their customers. The last thing you would think to ask this friend is for a discount.
I like a good sale or special as much as the next consumer does and it’s okay to take advantage of these opportunities when they are presented. Sales can be a business’ way of thanking their customers or simply moving a certain product that needs to be retired. However, walking into a business and expecting products to be discounted (or free) at your discretion is not the proper way to show support. Treat all small businesses like your friend.
(photo from The Red Pickle Facebook page)
Spread the love!
We all have our go to spots. Maybe it’s a coffee shop where you no longer need to say your order because they just know. Maybe it’s a pub where everybody knows your name. These spots feel like home away from home. However, it is important to diversify your support. Change up your morning coffee routine to try the new place. Sit at a different bar and make new friends. I like to say, “When we all do better, we ALL do better.”
It’s not being disloyal to your tired and true spot, it’s simply helping the downtown around them to thrive so more people feel the need to visit it. More reasons to go downtown equals more people downtown. More people downtown equals more foot traffic. More foot traffic equals more customers. Diversify your downtown experience and watch it flourish!
(photo from Raris & Lyles Udder Eats Facebook page)
Be an advocate.
Supporting small business is a lifestyle. It is something you believe in your heart to be of importance. It means choosing to look for a product locally before going online or to the next city over. It means making the purchase in store and not trying it on to order it elsewhere. It means suggesting a location when you overhear someone say, “There are no good places to ____ in Ellensburg.” It means bringing friends and family to experience the unique joy of supporting a small business with you. It is something you are dedicated to, like you are dedicated to using reusable shopping bags. It’s not always second nature at first, but if you do it enough, you’ll find it enhances your life and the life of those around you.
(photo from Evolve Clothing & Jewelry Facebook page)