July is Independent Retailers Month, which shines a light on the businesses that form the cornerstone of our economy and communities. However, if you turn on any news channel, you’ll see the rising and falling stock prices at all hours of the day. So much of the conversation we hear from the media and from politicians inflates the significance of the stock market on the day-to-day lives of everyday people in this country. While the number of people and households who own stocks has increased over the past few decades due to 401(k) investments, the stock market doesn’t dictate the economy as a whole. The reality is that “a dollar spent at an independent retailer is usually spent six to fifteen times in the community before heading out of town. Just $1 can create $5 to $14 of value in the immediate area.” (South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc)
What exactly is an independent retailer?
Business ownership falls into five main categories: Corporate chain, Independent, Wholesaler, Franchise, and Co-op. While each of these types of businesses add value to our economy, independent and small businesses have to manage all aspects of their business, without the protection or guidance of a corporation or board of directors. Small business owners apply for loans, run cost analyses, manage employees, create marketing and branding, and the list goes on.
Lancaster County has long been home to a wide array of independent retailers ranging from breweries and wineries, to bakeries and seasonings, across sectors to furniture and home goods, to unique services. Many of them are featured in this year’s Lancaster City Indie Retail Week, which runs July 16-24 this year. You can find participating stores on the event’s website (https://lancindieretail.com/) or their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lancindieretail/).
We will be discussing more about how to support independent retailers later this month. Check back later for more ways to get involved!
By Heather Madara