SOCIAL MEDIA

10 July 2013

Easy Ways to Support Small Businesses



I found the artistic perfection of a strawberry. I swear, it looks like a fake strawberry, it's so beautiful.
 
We recently spent an hour picking nearly thirty pounds of pesticide-free strawberries and black raspberries at a farm down the street from our house. I know, 30 lbs. of berries sounds slightly excessive for two adults of regular appetite, but we enjoy making berry smoothies all year long--so we figure that by stocking up while berries are in season here, and freezing them, we'll have a good supply to last us well into the winter!

Supporting small/locally owned businesses is something important to Angel and I. I've had plenty of family members and friends who were farmers or small business owners, and I've had enough entrepreneurial dreams myself, that I have a soft spot for putting my money towards supporting small businesses rather than huge corporations when possible.

Here are a few easy ways that we use money we would be spending anyways to support businesses in our town:

1. Like I mentioned above, instead of buying large bags of frozen berries picked in faraway states from Sam's Club, we stock up on fresh berries picked from small local farms in season, and freeze them for later use. Where we live, roadside produce stalls spring up everywhere all summer long. Nearly six months out of the year, we can buy cheap onions that were too ugly to sell to the grocery store from the onion farmers down the road, and we buy other produce when it's in season.

2. When we want a pizza, instead of popping a frozen pizza from the grocery store in the oven, we run down to the local ma'n'pa pizza shop for their $6.95 large one-topping special.

3. When traveling, instead of staying at Motel 8--hundreds of rooms and a complimentary continental breakfast, we like to stay at B&B's. If you do your research and call for specials, you can usually find a B&B with competitive pricing (the three we've stayed at have been around $70 a night). B&Bs might only have 4 or 5 rooms, and are often owned by one family or one couple--you can usually expect to have your breakfast cooked by the owner of the place! It's a much more personalized and fun experience than staying a night at a typical budget hotel!

4. We buy meat for our steak or carne asada tacos from an itty-bitty specialty butcher shop and grocery store, instead of buying frozen, packaged meats. This means Angel has to buy the meat because I haven't yet figured out what our favorite cut is called in Spanish. (Actually, I'm not sure Angel knows the term either, but he's good enough at describing the meat in Spanish that we end up getting what we want.)

5. I've been boycotting all fast-food chains since I was old enough to cry, "No, Mommy and Daddy!" every time they tried to take me to McDonald's. Angel and I like to eat out, but we especially like exploring the small, family-run restaurants in our area instead of spending date night at restaurants that are international chains. I swear, the food is better when it's not standardized from one franchise to the next.
To me, choosing to buy from small businesses is a win-win situation. The local economy is supported, and, I often get much more personalized service and higher quality products. This system works well for us, largely because we live in a farming community. Other cities have completely different local resources, I'm sure. How do you support small businesses in your everyday lifestyle?
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11 comments :

  1. Great ideas!
    Last night Kevin and I had to run by sonic when my dinner failed and we were on our way to a show...never again...forgot how awful their food is.
    I really love that you guys have a cool mom/pop shop for pizza and such...and I've been wanting to find a place to pick berries here...

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  2. Love these ideas! I prefer local hotels/B&Bs anyways. So much more of an experience than a chain!

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  3. My husband and my plan in life to eventually own a B&B. We also do like smaller restaurants to eat at as well.

    morrellfairytale.blogspot.com

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  4. I agree 100% about the restaurants. We love finding individual little places. The food is always SO much better than eating at crapplebys. I'd love to find more local farms to buy produce from.

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  5. We live in a small town so most things are local businesses in our area. Even the one or two chains we have are owned/franchised by a local person so I don't feel too bad about going there. Fruit stands/farmers markets are my favorite way to buy veggies/fruits in the summer.

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  6. love this! My husband has always worked for small, local businesses (first the family business- the janitorial supply/service company, and now the local bike shop) so he's always been a huge advocate for supporting small businesses. We like to do it when we eat out especially. And there's a berry farm near us that I've been dying to go to. :)

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  7. I do it pretty much the same way! There is a produce stand next to the road which I usually use on the way back from work where I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables. It is always from nearby and seasonal. In the grocery store I look where the groceries I buy come from, if they are seasonal and organic.

    I think it is not only a choice of supporting the local businesses, but also a way of staying healthy.

    Also when I am on holiday I always try the local foods and buy unknown but country specific groceries at the store.

    I can't really say when I went to McDonald's or similar the last time.. it was probably on the highway during a 12 hour drive.

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  8. I do it pretty much the same way! There is a produce stand next to the road which I usually use on the way back from work where I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables. It is always from nearby and seasonal. In the grocery store I look where the groceries I buy come from, if they are seasonal and organic.

    I think it is not only a choice of supporting the local businesses, but also a way of staying healthy.

    Also when I am on holiday I always try the local foods and buy unknown but country specific groceries at the store.

    I can't really say when I went to McDonald's or similar the last time.. it was probably on the highway during a 12 hour drive.

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  9. I LOVE all these tips- it's so much more satisfying helping out the businesses in your neighborhood than popping over to one of the chains. That's pretty cool you guys have a neighborhood butcher (i can only imagine how fresh that meat is) and my parents always go berry picking in bulk and freeze it. and you made me crave home made smoothies now, mmmm :)

    xo Marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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  10. It's adorkable! Perfect strawberry. :)
    Those are good ideas and I'll try to implement them. I always try to find things at the local thrift shops as opposed to chain ones like Value Village or what not. Those are big and wonderful, but I try to support the boutiques as well. :) Does that count?

    P.S. Would you like to link up?
    http://papaisapreacher.blogspot.com/2013/07/tidbit-thursday_10.html

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  11. I agree with your list. I'm not great at sticking to local businesses, but I try when I can. It's something I want to work on more here in Italy.

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