Shop local, improve neighborhoods

During National Small Business Week, it’s important to take the time to recognize the contributions that small business owners make to our communities. Since many of Bunker Hill’s independent agents are small business owners integral to our success, we are especially indebted to their entrepreneurial spirits and appreciative of their dedication to the local communities we serve.small business owners

Why small businesses matter. The American Dream was founded on the notion that if you work hard and persevere, you can make something of yourself – a goal the “average Joe” could achieve. Though we’ve reached a point in history where businesses range from “mom and pop” shops to complex multinational corporations, the romantic ideal of self-made success can still be found as easily on Main Street as it can on Wall Street.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either work for or own small businesses – creating two out of three new jobs in the U.S. each year. These numbers suggest that small businesses are still a powerful force behind our economy, and regardless of size, scope or number of patrons, each small business contributes to the American Dream.

Not only do small businesses provide jobs for the majority of the American workforce, but small businesses offer something major corporations might otherwise not: direct quantitative and qualitative benefits to communities.

Quantitative is pretty obvious: keeping dollars in the community. When you shop at the local corner store, the storeowner is more likely to recycle that revenue elsewhere in your community. Locally-owned businesses also create local jobs for people in the community.

Though the qualitative benefits may not be as apparent, they’re just as important. Small business transactions can contribute to the overall well-being of a town. For example, there is an inherent human component when you make a local purchase because you’re connecting directly with other members of your neighborhood.  This is your way of saying, “I support the well-being of our community because I support you and your business.”

Small businesses also offer unique solutions to competition.  While larger, national businesses are more immune to smaller market forces, small business owners are compelled to stay innovative and offer better service to customers because of the diversity in the marketplace.

So, shopping locally benefits everyone: the consumer, the business owner and the community at large.

HOW to support small businesses. Supporting small businesses begins with appreciation – it’s important to understand the impact shopping locally has on your neighborhood. Then, it’s a matter of committing to shopping locally. For example, instead of eating at a chain restaurant, consider eating a meal at a standalone place. Try buying your groceries at the local corner market rather than the big supermarket in the strip mall. Or, consider talking to a local, independent agent rather than a direct online carrier the next time you’re in the market for home insurance. Unlike a large direct carrier, independent agents offer a personal interaction: they will take the time to understand your needs and educate you on products based on your situation.

If you’re in the Boston area, consider participating in Acoustic on Main – a citywide initiative to connect neighborhoods, local businesses and live performers in honor of National Small Business Week.

While shopping locally, remember to share your favorite experiences with others because word of mouth and referrals are some of the best ways to learn about new businesses, products and services. Whether it’s through social media or leaving a consumer review, it’s easy to get the word out on your favorite spots.

So, as consumers, we should appreciate the resilience of Main Street business owners and show that appreciation by shopping locally – not just during National Small Business Week – but all year.

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowners and auto insurance throughout the northeast.