So…Why Small Business Saturday?

Cristina DDAWritten by guest author Cristina Sheppard-Decius, CMSM
Ferndale DDA Executive Director

I do not “do” Black Friday. Never have. So when American Express came out with Small Business Saturday a few years back, I thought, “Well finally, someone gets it.” I always thought I was alone in feeling this way, which come to find out, I am not. This is not to disparage those who have made Black Friday a family tradition nor to change that habit either. There is obviously room for both, I just secretly hope to play an active role in swinging more folks around to my kind of thinking.

Jerry's at Rust Belt
Jerry’s Shirts original space in Ferndale,  at The Rust Belt Market

I know some of you may think that Small Business Saturday is just an American Express marketing gimmick or made-up holiday. To me, Small Business Saturday is so much more than that, and there are many other small busines advocates who agree. While American Express my have coined the term and are spending thousands on marketing it to earn a greater return, what they have really done is help strengthen the voice of small businesses everywhere and bring greater awareness as to the why you should shop on Small Business Saturday.

DDA Modern Natural Baby
Modern Natural Baby

So why Small Business Saturday?

Location, Location, Location. Small businesses keep it local. Did you know that small businesses reinvest 70% of every dollar earned back into their local community? It is two times more than any national chain or online business. Downtown Ferndale is also pretty easy to get to, we love biking (even in the winter), and we are completely walkable to over 350 businesses.

It’s About the People. Small local businesses are about the people who run them; your neighbors, your friends, your children’s friends or their parents, your family—the person willing to put everything on the line to go against the corporate grain and take a chance on themselves. It’s a big risk running a small business, but usually comes with a great reward—and it’s not money, it’s gratification. Gratification that you are doing what you love. (Although being able to cover your expenses, support your employees and family is really important, too!).

DDA Christmas
“Downtown Ferndale is overflowing in originality, and that is what makes our city the place people want to be.”

Many of our Downtown Ferndale business owners are Ferndale residents, and the same holds true for a significant majority of their employees. They not only invest in their downtown, but also in the people who live here.

Genuine Service. No where else will get you a more genuine experience, the best customer service and full appreciation from shop owners than when you shop at a small business. Small businesses work harder to make sure you’re happy.

Originality. Small businesses are born from the idea of one or sometimes a small group of individuals, whose individuality shines through in what they do, how they do it and what they provide. Downtown Ferndale is overflowing with originality, and that is what makes our city the place people want to be. Downtown Ferndale has a whole host of creative gift buying options – you are sure to be the hit of the party or make your loved ones’ holiday special. There is also comfort in knowing that the dollars you spend on Small Business Saturday will directly impact your community.

More Fun Than Not. I’m just going to say it. Shopping in a downtown is just a heck of Leave Your Printa lot more fun than being stuck in a line or being packed in like sardines in a mall or big box. I love being able to have a real conversation with the real owner of the store, and take my time making my shopping decisions. Small business owners know how to help you, even when you don’t know what you’re looking for. We also have over 60 restaurants and entertainment venues to add to that shopping experience, which to me is a winner! Nothing beats a day of shopping than to be able to sit down, kick back and enjoy a meal someone makes for me (and a beverage I might add). Stress be gone!

Found Sound DDA
Found Sound

So what are you doing this Saturday, November 29th? After reading this I hope you are taking it to the streets of Downtown Ferndale for Small Business Saturday. Start your day with brunch, then make sure to pick up the Downtown Ferndale Passport to specials and savings at more than 30 businesses. Every time you make a purchase, get your passport stamped. With each stamp, you will be entered into a raffle of amazing prizes from our merchants. With each stamp you know you are supporting your community! For a list of businesses and all the details, go to www.downtownferndale.com.

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #DowntownFerndale

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Local Lessons on Community Support

banners-soulful_living_799479992
“There are many definitions of community. The one I like best is simple: People with common interests in a particular area.”

Written by guest author, Teri Williams

When I was a young girl my dad used to wake me up early most Saturday mornings to head downtown to Eastern Market in Detroit where we would shop for the weeks fresh fruits and vegetables.  The vendors would greet us with bright smiles and warm welcomes. Some who knew us would even have a few items already packed.  Every few minutes one of my dad’s coworkers would stop us to say hello and chat.

On the way home we would have breakfast at one of the local restaurants.  At one particular diner the chef would start cooking our breakfast when he saw us walk in the door.  The server (called a waitress back then) would have coffee, juice and chocolate milk in her hand before we even sat down.  Most times friends, family, or local officials would sit with us for a few minutes, catching up on the events of the week.  It was a weekend ritual that I loved not just because I hung out with my dad, more because we shared community spirit and the love of humanity with so many others.  Sounds like a scene from Cheers – without the beers!

There are many definitions of community.  The one I like best is simple:  People with common interests in a particular area.

GirlavantingGirls night out Elegance By Design Ferndale
“…the foundation of my success starts within my own home town by showing my support to fellow local business owners.”

the foundation of my success starts within my own home town by showing my support to fellow local business owners. 

Much has changed since I was a young girl; however the fundamentals of community living have not.  Whether you reside in a city or have a business in a city means you have a common interest with all who are part of that city; you have stake in the community.  The ultimate goal is for the community to thrive, to grow, to shine. For those of us who both reside in and do business within our community, our stake becomes even higher.  We want both our business and our home to reflect success.

As someone whose business is both local and global, I realize that the foundation of my success starts within my own home town by showing my support to fellow local business owners.  Every time I need something I look around my hometown first.

Why support local?

Local business owners recycle many of their dollars back into the community through taxes, hiring local residents, and spending their own dollars on the home front. 

Local business support means you reduce ecological waste with less gas, as well as less air and water pollution.

Local business shopping strengthens the foundation of social relationships by linking neighbors and supporting local causes. 

difference between soulcial and socialNext time you are looking for something, whether it’s a gift for a friend, a plumber, or something just for you, take a minute to look at one of the businesses within your city.  It’s better for you, it’s better for them, it’s better for the community and it’s better for the environment.

Teri Griffin Williams has spent most of her life supporting the Ferndale community in some capacity. With over 20 years’ experience in both the corporate world and mindful, heart centered energy work, Teri Williams shares her personal knowledge gained as a successful entrepreneur.  She is a multimedia and business consultant, as well as a Shamanic Practitioner, Reiki Master and Certified Intuitive Practitioner who relates the ins and outs of what works for her in the hopes that you, too, will live a more Soul-cially Conscious life.  She is the host of Soulful Living at Empoweradio.com and a regular contributing author for SimpleStepsRealChangeMag.com. For more about her, including free resources and how to work with her, visit TeriGriffinWilliams.com

The Business of Supporting Local

 Written by guest author, Sandy Levine

When I started in the restaurant industry at the ripe old age of 11, I was already a really competitive kid.  I loved sports and hated losing.  It seemed natural that in the coming years, as I moved my way up through the ranks in kitchens and dining rooms, that other nearby restaurants with similar concepts were viewed by my bosses as the enemy (or at least the opposition).  Whether it was a deli, a pizza place, a burger joint, or a steakhouse, I was always very loyal to where I worked and ready to tell a guest why we were better than somebody else.

In the early 2000s, I moved to Philadelphia, and my eyes were opened to a completely different culture.  It seemed not only that restaurant owners (and managers, servers, bartenders, etc) communicated with one another, they often acted as champions of one another’s places.  In many cases, they would hold events at their competitors’ venues, or team up with other chefs for charity events.  It wasn’t rare if we happened to overbook, that we’d call another restaurant down the street, asking if they could squeeze in a guest we didn’t have room for.  The drastic difference in restaurant/bar industry climate in 1990s Detroit vs. 2000s Philly wasn’t lost on me.  Being so close to New York, we noticed that the bar scene had a similar communal aspect, with bartenders working one or two nights a week at a few different bars.  Everyone sang everyone else’s praises to whoever would listen.

This is the climate that has been building in the Detroit area over the last few years, and it’s

"We were really nervous about how a bar with such a different concept would be received, but something special happened."
“We were really nervous about how a bar with such a different concept would be received, but something special happened.”

intoxicating.  My wife and I signed a lease on a space in downtown Ferndale just over 4 years ago that became “The Oakland,” a craft cocktail bar.  At the time, it was a very new concept that not a lot of people understood (or necessarily cared to).  We were really nervous about how a bar with such a different concept would be received, but something special happened.

For the first month or two we were open, our guests consisted almost entirely of restaurant/bar industry and retail people, who not only liked what we were doing, but told lots of other people about us.  Our business has increased steadily since we’ve opened, and we’ve relied completely on word-of-mouth rather than traditional advertising. The community of Detroit area service industry professionals is growing and strengthening.

I’ve called other owners to borrow ice when our machine was down, to send a free round to our regulars who we knew were there, asked for a bottle of something we ran out of.  We’ve also done the same for several other places near us.  If a guest mentions that they’re headed to one of our friend’s establishments, we’ve been known to send a “special delivery” (read: shot) to the bartender on duty.

If we have a guest who walks out on their bill or is unruly, or if underage kids try to drink at our bar, we send out a text to our neighbors warning them.  I’ve discussed systems and strategies dozens of times with a bar owner that we’re compared to constantly.  All of this lends itself to each establishment improving, our city’s food and drink culture growing, and ultimately a better experience for the guest.  The proof is in the pudding – GQ named Detroit the “Best Bar City in America” in their Bars Issue last August.

#DowntownFerndale
#DowntownFerndale

We were at a soft opening for a new restaurant the night before this post was written that knocked our socks off.  I counted at least 10 separate tables with owners or managers of food or drink establishments, all of whom were cheering on this new establishment.  They all raved about the new place on social media, too.

#SupportLocal