By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
Each year, Americans consume about 150 million hot dogs and purchase 700 million pounds of chicken for their Fourth of July celebrations. There are explosive fireworks displays, casual backyard cookouts and festive block parties – all to celebrate the birth of our country and the founding of our freedom. It’s the most patriotic day of the year, but just how all-American is your celebration? You may have the red, white and blue Solo cups, but if you’re not shopping at local businesses for your party-planning needs, then your Fourth of July plans could use a little more local.
1. The Founding Fathers would approve.
Of the five men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, known collectively as the Committee of Five, four had a direct connection to small businesses. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, in addition to their many other accolades, were successful farmers. Roger Sherman, who went on to become the first mayor of New Haven, opened New Milford, Connecticut’s, first store along with his brother. Benjamin Franklin did just about everything from inventing bifocals to founding universities, but he also led one of the original small business associations. In 1727, he created the Junto, a group of artisans and tradesmen in Philadelphia that hoped to improve themselves while they improved the community.
2. Small businesses have been family-owned-and-operated since colonial times.
Every business started as a small business, but most of them haven’t remained that way for hundreds of years. Yet the four of the five oldest companies in the United States (that still exist today) are all owned and operated by the same families that started them in the 1600s. They are Shirley Plantation, a family farm in Charles City County, Virginia; Field View Farm, a family farm and popular ice cream shop in Orange, Connecticut; Barker’s Farm, a farm and orchard in North Andover, Massachusetts; and the Seaside Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine. The fifth company on the list is Tuttle Farm in Dover, New Hampshire, which remained in the same family from 1632 until it was sold in October 2013. These small businesses, and many more just like them, have stayed true to their family values and simple business models, while adapting to new technology and new competition.
3. Small businesses are as diverse as Americans.
Most American businesses are small businesses. In fact, as of 2011, small businesses outnumbered corporations 1,162 to one. From one-man operations run from a home office to regional brands with several locations, these companies reflect the diversity that sets the United States apart from the rest of the world. By turning lifelong passions into successful businesses, they prove that the American dream is alive and well, from sea to shining sea.
4. They’re all about independence.
Not only do they reflect the American people, but small businesses also reflect the traditionally American values of freedom and independence. These businesses are independently owned, meaning that they are not controlled by larger companies or multinational corporations. Rather, they are owned by individual Americans or groups of Americans, who are free to make decisions about the business as they see fit. This independence makes small businesses better fit to support local consumers and local communities because they do not answer to distant headquarters. Local businesses are proud of their independence, and they’re ready to celebrate with their communities this Fourth of July!
5. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy.
Small businesses keep America’s superpower economy running by creating jobs and reinvesting money in local communities. They return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to local economies than national chains. By keeping this money in local communities, small businesses create a nationwide network of growing economies. When you shop at these businesses for your Fourth of July decorations and supplies, you’re supporting your economy and your community.
Whether you’re celebrating with a few family friends or the entire neighborhood, make this Fourth of July as patriotic as possible by shopping at all-American small businesses. To find small businesses in your community, check out Independent We Stand’s local business search and free mobile app. From party rental services to barbeque catering and grilling supplies, the local businesses in your community will help you celebrate Independence Day the independents’ way!
About the Author
Alex is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is double-majoring in Public Relations and Spanish. Since becoming a writer for Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle. Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.