Home / Blog / Business Enhancement / Small Business Saturday!!!!

Small Business Saturday!!!!

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | November 22, 2023
local shop

At Emporia Main Street, we believe small businesses are a big deal. Supporting our local entrepreneurs isn’t just something we say, it’s something that we do through some very clear actions all year long. We loan dollars to startups and expansions, apply for grants to assist with business and property development, develop systems that allow for tax credit applications, train entrepreneurs through the Start Your Own Business class & tech startup class, produce local investment through Show of Hands, host events to draw traffic and increase sales, provide business specific marketing data, and develop products for local businesses through our Fabrication Lab (among many other measurable actions). But, why? Why do we put so much time/effort/resources into our small businesses?

Small businesses define a community and region.- When people visit Emporia from another community, they usually hit up the places they don’t have at home. It’s our unique community attributes that make us stand out.

They disproportionately give back more to their community.- Local businesses are usually the first to get hit up for everything… Small businesses create real relationships with their customers, and are generally more engaged with the region, so as a percentage of sales, they give back more to local communities.

Entrepreneurs are community leaders.- In the recent City Commission race, every single candidate either worked for or owned a local business. Entrepreneurs have to self motivate to solve for problems with creative solutions. The more entrepreneurs a community has, the stronger the local leadership.

They build the foundation of our local economy.- Small businesses bank locally, use local accountants, work with local attorneys, and support other local businesses. When dollars are spent with local and locally owned businesses they cycle through our community more times. One of the easiest things you can do to create a healthier local economy is engage in local spending.

Small businesses provide different products and services that meet our unique needs.- Local businesses understand local shoppers, and they create products and services to meet their needs.

Entrepreneurs are behind our large community events.- When we look at all the large scale cool stuff that people love to do in our area, there is almost always an entrepreneurial founder to thank for it’s formation. The Great American Market, bike races, disc golf, art events and more have an entrepreneur at their core. The more successful entrepreneurs a community has, the more cool stuff there is to do.

Your support for small businesses is support for local families.- Local businesses aren’t some nameless/faceless entity; they are made up of your friends and neighbors. We should all root for the success of local businesses!

Small businesses bring knowledge and relationships to our transactions.– How many small businesses do you know with self checkout stations? Entrepreneurs prioritize customer relationships and product knowledge so they can better help consumers.

Entrepreneurship is VERY important for our future.- Artificial Intelligence, automation, global competition, and other changes to our environment and economy require creative people that can spot opportunities and make things happen. The jobs of the future will require entrepreneurs of the present. The more successful local entrepreneurs are now, the better our region will be down the road.

Passionate people, that care enough to engage in entrepreneurship, are awesome.– In a world full of “meh”, it’s wonderful to see people that really care. It doesn’t matter if they care about cheese, bikes, clothing, pets, art, food, spirits, or whatever else they are passionate about; it’s the fact that they are passionate. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we had more people that did awesome stuff they were passionate about?

This holiday season, we invite you to seek out those unique area businesses as you shop for loved ones. Not because you have to, but because they are the best parts of our community. We will be out shopping local this holiday season, and we hope you join us!

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.