When we think of “community” it can mean a place with homes, shops, restaurants, and services. Or it can mean people helping one another, “a sense of community.” Let’s have some of both…
Our Local Business Supporters are part of both meanings of the word. When we “shop local” we are strengthening the economic health of the place where we live, and we can get to know our neighbors better, in a way that serves to help each other. It doesn’t take much to realize that the idea of getting to know people better is a good thing.
An article from “Naturehub,” part of the online forum Medium, makes a number of points on why supporting local businesses is so important. The first one, setting the tone for all the other reasons, is that “It shows you care about your local community.”
Going out on your own in the world is a hard thing no matter what you’re doing. Now imagine doing that in this dog-eat-dog corporate world. Small business owners often have had their work cut out for them every turn for years. So, it’s a hard task they take on every single day and they do it to offer the public alternative options that are going to make a difference in the lives of consumers like us.1
The Southern Gables Neighborhood Association relies on local businesses for support, to do much more that we could do with just our members’ dues payments alone — after all, the dues are voluntary and they’re so low! Our annual Neighborhood Night Out, for example, would be just an ordinary picnic without the booths and kiosks set up by our local businesses and organizations, and the money we have available to hire the DJ, provide the hot dogs and other snacks and drinks, and the big raffle prizes would fall short if all we had was the members’ dues payments. In our overall budget, carrying out the goals of the Association, we also support local charitable organizations2 3 4, the cost of the leaf collection project,5 and to pay for neighborhood improvements such as the entrance sign at Jewell & Estes6 and traffic safety measures for which Southern Gables neighbors had petitioned the City.7
The way our Business Supporters help us, and we help them, is a project that we start each February (except for the last two years). We go out and solicit support. By “we” I mean mostly Lisa Huntington-Kinn and Doug Whitten, the two members of the Association Board who contribute the most. They carry the load, almost entirely, of signing up businesses and community organizations to participate. And by “support” I mean getting businesses that we know and trust to sign up for a listing on our Local Business Supporters page with a link to their business; inclusion in the “Tote Bag” project that delivers special discount certificates, gadgets, and promotional materials delivered to all 1100 or so homes in the Southern Gables Neighborhood; and a spot for them to participate in Neighborhood Night Out. As Lisa points out, “It’s a great value proposition for the businesses that participate.” For our neighbors, it’s good in that these are businesses that we know, we have talked with and dealt with. These are businesses that we know to be good at what they do, good to deal with, and good neighbors.
To sign up as a business, contact Lisa or Doug through our Contact Us page, or if you have participated before and wish to renew you can simply register online, with the button at the bottom of the Dues page.
As another facet of enhancing our sense of community, we would like to resume our “Meet Your Neighbor” series. You can see past “Meet” articles in the index (on the right, or on a small screen scroll way down). If you or someone you know might like to be featured, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.