Showing love for Indiana ‘mom-and-pops’

MARY SCHUERMANN KUHLMAN

INDIANAPOLIS – Once the Black Friday dust settles, Indiana shoppers are encouraged to show some love for their nearby mom-and-pop stores.

Saturday was the 10th annual Small Business Saturday, highlighting the power of shopping at locally-owned stores – and in Indiana, 99% of all businesses are considered small.

Laura Schafsnitz, a public affairs specialist for the Indiana district office of the United States Small Business Administration, explains that shopping local means supporting your community.

“The sidewalks in your town, you’re not the only one who’s paying for them,” she points out. “By supporting those small businesses, their tax dollars are going into making sure that all the traffic lights work, that the sidewalks are clean, that there aren’t as many potholes on the street.”

According to data from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, $68 out of $100 spent at a local business stays in the local economy, compared to $43 spent at a large, multi-state chain.

Schafsnitz explains small businesses are not only the backbone of many towns in the state but also a reflection of the people who live there.

“Our communities make us special, our communities make us unique,” she states. “And we want to show that off.

“It’s an opportunity for a community to showcase the really great reasons why they’re awesome, why they’re great; why you need to come and experience that community.”

Schafsnitz adds that shopping local could also make holiday gift-giving a bit easier.

“Nine times out of 10, you’re going to get something maybe a little bit more unique for your family or your friends that you might not have been able to find at a big box store,” she stresses.

There are 1.2 million people working in Indiana’s businesses, accounting for one in three retail employees, and more than half of all hospitality and food service workers in the state.