STK - Open sign

Many of us made a special effort to shop at locally owned small businesses on Small Business Saturday, a day that, for ten years, has been designated to encourage shoppers to patronize small businesses. It is held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But, supporting small businesses is something we can do all year, especially now when holiday shopping season is in full swing.

While there are definitely benefits of shopping at larger chains – more inventory, convenience and, at times, lower prices, there are also benefits to sharing the love with small businesses. The smaller mom-and-pop stores may not always be as easy to find, but putting in the effort can definitely be worth it.

According to a 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express, about two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses in the United States stays in the local community. It was also found that every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services.

Economic benefits aside, it is obvious that many people find the small shopping experience enjoyable. The diverse storefronts and variety of restaurants in downtown Provo have helped the area become a gathering place in Utah County. The historic downtown area of Pleasant Grove is growing, with empty spaces filling up with new businesses. In every city, small businesses are drawing in people and fulfilling the needs of consumers.

Small, independent shops often have unique finds, new ideas and homemade items that cannot be found elsewhere. The people who work there are often the owners, the creators and the artisans themselves.

I would never have known what “Unicorn Dust” is had I not ventured into Soaplicity in Pleasant Grove (I now purchase it regularly.) I might not have ever tried a “Jalisco Quesadilla” if I hadn’t ordered one once while at Los Hermanos in Orem. I have eaten several more since that time. Bibliophiles may not find that perfect, hard-to-find book if they don’t check out Pioneer Book in Provo. The list goes on and on. We have great small businesses in Utah Valley.

Let’s support those entrepreneurs who follow their dreams to provide a good or service for the rest of us. It doesn’t hurt to give a new local restaurant a try. If you don’t like it, there are plenty more waiting to serve you.  

Laura Giles is a long-time correspondent for the Daily Herald and a community member living in Pleasant Grove. She can be contacted at LauraCGiles@gmail.com.

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