With Black Friday right around the corner, shoppers are gearing up to score big deals on those door-busters. But local small business owners are urging people to consider shopping local, rather than spending money at the national chains.
Lynn Ross opened the Mother and Earth Baby Boutique in Delta Township a few months ago. It's an eco-friendly, made-in-the-USA baby store.
"We carry everything from cloth diapers to household cleaning products," said Ross. "We want to be a one-stop shop for families to buy products that are completely safe for the family, and that they don't have to worry about."
Ross has lived in Delta Township since she was a little girl, and supporting the local community is important to her.
"I know myself and other local businesses support other local businesses," Ross said. "Our suppliers are local, everything from your bookkeeper to who you get your paper from."
That's one of the advantages of shopping local, explains Ken Whitinger. He runs an online directory of local businesses in the Lansing area (www.shoplocallansing.com) where you can find a list of locally-owned stores, job openings at those businesses, and coupons.
"Whether it be the tax dollars that they pay, volunteering for non-profits, helping at schools, serving on government committees - the local business owner gives back at least twenty-fold to the community," Whitinger said. "Unlike a national chain, where roughly 70 to 80% goes elsewhere. The money doesn't stay in the Lansing area."
So next time you are out shopping, Whitinger hopes you think twice before stopping in at Kohl's or picking up lunch at McDonald's. If locally-owned businesses like Jersey Giant can't beat the big chain prices, they say they make up for it in quality and customer service.
"We can't hit that $4 or $5 mark," said Britton Slocum, owner and operator of Jersey Giant. "Our product, it's a value product. You're getting bread that's baked right here in town, chips made right here in Michigan, cookies imported from Delta Township."
The bottom line, Slocum says, is "buying locally keeps your money in the community."
Wedged in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year is a relatively new event - "Small Business Saturday." So visit your favorite locally-owned store on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24th, to see what deals they have.
If you do your research before buying, many locally-owned businesses sell some of the same stuff as the big box stores, and can even price match. On top of the dollar value, business owners say buying locally simply helps the community develop and flourish.