Shopping Small Gives Back To The Community In Big Ways - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Shopping Small Gives Back To The Community In Big Ways

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Every few months independent businesses in the Sauk Valley area come together to promote themselves and each other on "Shop Small Saturday". They do it to show the community why it's important to support local businesses.

Terry and Penny Bright are a few of those independent business owners. They opened their small business in 1994 as a car dealership.

In the middle of the Beanie Baby craze in the mid-90's, they decided to start selling the stuffed toys at their Sterling, IL store and from there Golden Key Gift Shop began to grow. 

Today they don't sell cars, but still enjoy being a part of a community of local businesses. 

"It's the heart of the community," said Golden Key Gift Shop owner Terry Bright. "We live here. The local shop owners, we're all from here. Our roots are tied to here. We're part of the community and they are too."

Sauk Valley Shop Small began 3 years ago, uniting local mom and pop shops and helping to spread awareness to the public and support for independent business owners.

The big thing they say is that spending money locally, stays local. 

"By supporting your mom and pop businesses and your independent retailers in your hometown, more of your tax dollars are going to stay local and help fund those people and that kind of stuff," said Sauk Valley Shop Small co-organizer Janna Groharing. "It's just great because your supporting the people who live and work in your neighborhood."

According to a recent study and a US Census projection, 68% of your money stays within the community when you shop at a mom and pop store. 

Bright said each Shop Small Saturday continues to expand their business. 

"It's amazing that it's snowballed and it keeps growing every time we do it," said Bright. "The numbers just keep on increasing as far as foot traffic and what our sales volumes do."

Janna Groharing said independent, local stores define their communities. 

"They're unique to each individual community," said Groharing. "They really give the town it's character."

Sauk Valley Shop Small estimates that if every household spent $10 a month in local stores, $2 million more would re-circulate in the area each year, meaning more cash for the community.