You see them when you drop off your dry cleaning, call out a plumber and have your trees trimmed. But the local business climate is benefited when you also choose a mom and pop company for other needs, such as clothes shopping, auto parts and hardware.
March 29 is Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, where communities everywhere focus on local companies that can more easily survive when we shop with them.
“When you own a small business, you pour everything into it,” said D.W. Cookie Co. owner Devar Ward. “It’s more value to the customer and to the mom and pop. Every dime counts, everything that comes in counts. It’s a way of supporting your own community.”
According to the National Center for Business Journalism, it’s the Small Business Administration, or SBA, that determines what falls into that category. It’s industry-specific, so in some cases the size of a business is based on the number of employees the company has, but in other industries it’s based on total receipts.
The agency considers “economic characteristics comprising the structure of an industry, including degree of competition, average firm size, start-up costs and entry barriers, and distribution of firms by size,” the website says. “It also considers technological changes, competition from other industries, growth trends, historical activity within an industry, unique factors occurring in the industry which may distinguish small firms from other firms, and the objectives of its programs and the impact on those programs of different size standard levels.”
An article on NationalToday.com offers support for celebrating small business.
“Our economy couldn’t run without small mom and pop businesses,” it says. “They create economic growth and provide almost 70 percent of all new jobs in the country. That’s why every year on March 29 we acknowledge the more than 27 million small businesses in this country by celebrating National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.
Rick and Margie Segel put the “holiday” on the calendar in honor of their parents, who ran a successful hat shop. They launched the business in 1939 and it grew to a 10,000-square-foot shop earning $2 million. The emphasis is on “long hours, hard work and dedication” that small business owners pour into their work.
Local business owner Karitza Gladden of Roast & Perk in Canyon Country also keeps her parents’ efforts in her thoughts. They had a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, which means she knows the “fine print of running a business,” including the daily perseverance involved.
One of the biggest challenges, Gladden says, is “introducing a brand new brand, and gaining customers’ trust,” which can lead to success in standing out against the sometimes bigger names available.
That’s precisely the idea behind the national day of recognition.
“Mom and Pop shops bring fresh ideas to the marketplace,” the article says. “In today’s economy, when you can find the same products in every Big Box in every city, it’s refreshing to find something new which everyone else hasn’t discovered yet.”
“With big businesses all the stuff is automated now,” Ward said. “Sometimes the only interaction with a person you can get is that human interaction of a mom and pop shop.”
Paul Dell’Olio of Paul’s Paint & Hardware in Canyon Country finds his greatest satisfaction in providing that contact.
“There are many differences between mom and pop and big box stores, but number one for us would have to be when a customer walks into our store, we smile, we help and we care – enough said,” Dell’Olio commented. “Owning your own business is a lot of hard work. The reward is all the wonderful relationships we’ve developed with our customers over the last 25 years.”
One of the other good reasons to support small business is that their success gets poured back into your community.
Gladden makes a point to hire high schoolers, so they learn to feel comfortable with people, learn a trade, and experience work in the real world.
And during a recent season of fires, Roast & Perk, which is located in the Canyon Country Theatre complex, facilitated the collection of supplies for first responders.
The benefits go both ways, Gladden says: “Even though we are small, we are still receiving a lot of love from the community.”
The website encourages everyone to “share the love” with small business owners, suggesting creative ways to pay tribute to mom and pops. The most obvious one is to “shop local,” of course. And the second is to share what you’re doing on social media. The more attention these businesses get the better.
You can also simply drop a note to your favorite business owners thanking them for their hard work. After all, you may not otherwise have access to those extra soft cookies or custom made T-shirts.