The cars of today may not be your father’s Oldsmobile, but there’s one part of his heyday that deserves continued celebration. National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day is recognized each year on March 29, celebrating the value that small, locally owned businesses add to their communities. As much as the day is about finding inspiration from the past, it’s also about creating excitement about the future.
Chances are, you already know of a few mom-and-pop businesses in your community. From the family-owned ice cream shop on Main Street to the father-and-son hardware store on First Avenue, these are the businesses that National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day honors. They’re not just great places to shop, they’re the backbone of the community.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 28 million small businesses exist the U.S. today, employing more than 56 million people. Together, these locally, independently owned retailers, restaurants, hotels and service providers create stronger and more resilient local economies. In fact, locally owned retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to their local economy than national chains. Similarly, locally owned restaurants return more than twice as much money per dollar of sales than their chain counterparts.
Beyond the economic benefits, locally owned businesses add value that can’t easily be measured in dollars and cents: They create a community that’s completely unique. No two cities, counties or states have the same network of independent businesses – and that makes each of our neighborhoods a little more interesting. Particularly when it comes to generations-old family businesses, they also chronicle the community’s history in a way that modern big-box superstores can’t. They carry on local traditions and give back to local causes keeping the community vibrant.
Even if a small business hasn’t been around for generations, it’s still a valuable part of the local economy. Looking toward the future, start-up companies and entrepreneurs have the ideas and ambition to create important solutions to our communities’ challenges. Not to mention, they create the potential for even more local jobs and reinvestment.
To celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Day, visit a locally owned business – old or new – in your community. While you’re there, get to know the person working the front desk, learn about the business owners’ passion and build a new connection to your community. Then, spread the word amongst your friends, family and colleagues. That’s how the buy local movement spreads and mom-and-pop businesses grow stronger.