Something I’ve been trying to do in the last year is to find more small businesses that I can support instead of just going to a big box retail store. The only problem with small businesses is that sometimes the price of the goods is so much more than at a big box store that can get better discounts on everything! It’s pretty hard to compare a place like Costco to a small business in terms of buying power. The sheet amount of buying power that Costco has is enormous! I have a place in my heart for Costco, but I really want to support the small businesses too. Places run by a small group of people with usually great customer service and a lot of heart.
There’s a huge fight of small vs big right now and all too often the big wins out. It is definitely easier for me to hop on over to Costco and target and basically get everything I will ever need all in just one stop. But then there’s the small mom and pop store around the corner that’s been there for years and is a cornerstone of the community. In order to survive, they need loyal customers to go there and spend their money! At the end of the day it’s all about where the money goes.
Finding the right places
Last year I was lucky to find a local natural health goods market in the neighborhood that wasn’t too crazily priced. This was at a point when I was trying to clean up my health and personal care items to be less chemical laden and better for my health. I loved the little store and the people who owned the place. It was this small cute place that had a decent variety of items. Today I just visited a small market with higher quality meats! I don’t know if it’s going to me go to meat market place but so far I bought something to try it out. It’s all going to be a big search and find until I find the right places that fit my lifestyle and budget. A lot of smaller businesses in LA also tend to be in trendier higher end neighborhoods and the price of the goods just is too high for me.
All these smaller places definitely don’t have everything I need in one stop, but the workers are more invested in their goods and definitely care about what goods they have. Each one will have a different set of goods that they feel fits their store the best but might not necessarily always be what I’m looking for. Target indeed does have the widest variety of say for example, shampoos. But the small store will have the best of the best shampoos that they think re worth it rather than everything possible. If I trust the store, then it’s a much quicker way for me to find an item than trying to wade through 30 types of one item.
A local toy store I was able to find is now my intended go to place for any gifts for kids, babies, and maybe adults too. I love the curation they did with the different eco-friendly and educational toys. I’ve even found the prices of some items to be lower than what I could find online!
Actually going there
I was extremely saddened to realize that the natural health market I loved had gone out of business near the end of last year! I always thought of it, but I never went there enough. Yes, myself alone probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the store closing, but if ten of me had gone there more often then that wouldn’t helped! Making the effort (and kicking myself in the butt to not be lazy) to go frequent these places is what I need to do.
It’s just a way better experience
Big box stores honestly can be extremely stressful to get in and out of in LA. There’s a ton of people in the big city and since I work normal weekday hours I have to run all my errands on the weekend when everyone else is out too. Holidays especially are hard times for me to go out because of the crowds. I’m a Midwest girl at heart and crowds are just not my thing. Being able to stop into a smaller place that’s not crowded elbow to elbow is just a much nicer shopping experience. Also being able to easily talk to someone who works there for advice or help. It’s a lot friendlier environment and everyone in the store isn’t super stressed out trying to get out of there!
The best part about being careful with my money is that I have more control about what I can do with it! It’s a nice luxury that I have now that I don’t live paycheck to paycheck and instead get to choose to make my money count. Supporting smaller businesses is definitely something I think is worth doing. Maybe one day I’ll have a small business myself! Who knows right?
Do you have a small business that you love supporting?