Brenna Love/Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Saturday is coming up on November 26th, and the Chamber of Commerce knows how much Missoulians love to support their local community. One of the biggest and best ways to maintain and sustain our remarkable culture and economy, is to support our local businesses.
I think it’s absolutely awesome that I can buy my Christmas tree from my dad’s old running buddy, and I love buying my coffee from a girl I had 7th grade P.E. with. While it might be the cheapest place to get your toothpaste, a big superstore won’t understand the importance of a “37” on my football jersey above any other number. Small Missoula businesses are the ones providing quality jobs to Missoulians, who ultimately spend their paychecks back into our local economy. Small businesses are the ones supporting local charities, fundraisers, and sponsoring your neighbor’s kid’s softball team.
Big Sky Breakout co-owner, Ralph Walters, said, “[Missoula] is special, not just because of its natural beauty but because of the way Missoula works. This isn’t just a place with things, this is a COMMUNITY that puts community first… We want to help Missoula grow and still hold on to its spirit and we think it will.”
Bull’s Eyewear owner, Lynette Schaeffer, said, “We’re able to talk to our customers and know exactly what they’re looking for and provide the items they request. It’s a much more personalized touch.”
Olive + Iron owner, Mandy Burns, told me “As a small business owner I am personally invested in each and every one of my customers. They are important. I want to make sure they get quality, good service and things that fit into their lives.”
The discussions I’ve had with these business owners, and more, have proved to me that what I’m looking for as a local-shopping consumer, is exactly what they want to provide for me and for Missoula – a culture of genuine care and personality. When contacting business owners, Ralph with Big Sky Breakout, addressed his email to me with a very hearty, “YO Brenna!!” Ultimately, Missoulians care about Missoulians. And small business owners want to create the most intimate and personable experience for each and every one of us.
While Missoulians adore the culture of shopping local for Missoula, shopping local is absolutely essential to Montana’s economy as a whole. The Montana’s District Office of U.S Small Business Administration reports that “89.65% of all employment in the [Montana] is in small business,” and that over 99% of all businesses are classified by their standards as “small business.” These small businesses in Missoula, and Montana, are truly the ones supporting each other and our state economy.
Adair Jewelers’ owner, Jim Adair told me, “Ultimately, small business money gets recycled back into the community through workers’ and owners’ wages. A local business is more likely to carry local products therefore supporting the local economy as a whole. Supporting small businesses keeps our money local and in Montana.”
Runner’s Edge owner, Anders Booker, said, “When purchases are made online, most of these dollars leave our state and never make it back to Missoula market. We truly appreciate the customers who go out of their way to support us and other area shops. By keeping your money in the local economy, you support your friends, family, and neighbors and help the Missoula economy thrive.”
Romaines owner, Graham Roy values that, “We have the opportunity to do business with lots of other local people from local farmers who supply our food to other local vendors. We also get to know our customers by what they order and a little about them. All of these connections make our business more fun to run and the connections with customers and businesses make us stronger.”
These Missoula business owners and myself all agree that, for many reasons, shopping local is the way to go. The Missoula Chamber of Commerce reminds you of the importance of supporting your local businesses and encourages you to hit the town on November 26th for Small Business Saturday. For more information on the great deals will be available around town, check out Missoula Chamber’s Facebook page.