For our final article of 2023, Team SHIFT wants to start by expressing gratitude. We are grateful for the opportunity to share a little bit of our unique style knowledge with OUR city and My City readers, including seasonal trends, fabulous upcoming things to look for, best color pairings and so much more! We are grateful for our SHIFT shoppers, new and seasoned, and grateful that you are ready to SHIFT your vibe to positivity when reading MCM.
Especially in the chaos and anxiety of the holiday season, take a moment to start each day with thoughts of gratitude. Greater Flint has so much to offer: great people, great parks, great restaurants, great places to explore, to shop, to connect with nature and friends, to watch a show, concert or movie – and to SHOP.
We say this with grateful hearts, yet we cannot ignore the fact that some of these offerings have changed and disappeared in a post-pandemic world. Some local small businesses like Northern Country Chic and FEAST Shop/Cooking School in Fenton, and Reclaimed by Whaley in Downtown Flint have recently closed; we send a shout out to just a few remaining small-but-mighty business owners and applaud their valiant efforts. Businesses struggle to find staff, and sales are lower across the board for small retailers as the ease of ordering on Amazon.com from your couch and having next day delivery have reduced the need to even leave the house. BUT, we know that mental health is directly tied to the need for human interaction and having real experiences – listening to music, seeing live entertainment and enjoying delicious meals with family and friends are key to a person’s well-being and in turn, to the well-being of a city – OUR city.
Local shopping is crucial to the growth and expansion of our city. If we want our community development to continue, we have to offer something that other communities don’t; we need our local business scene to be unique to OUR city for travelers and to provide quality and convenience for residents. Since local business owners are not tied to national sales or marketing strategies, they bring a wider variety of products and services. This means you won’t encounter the exact same mix of restaurants or retail options anywhere else. This is the beauty of local patronage!
The math is compelling. Recent research from Civic Economics (civiceconomics.com) indicates that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 remains in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally-owned business, where only $43 remains in the local economy. Plus, the same study indicates that local eateries return nearly 79% of revenues to the community, compared to just over 30% for chain restaurants!
It’s a fact that when profits stay local, it increases the community’s wealth, tax revenue and standard of living. Small, local businesses are still the backbone of our economy! They, WE, are local people, serving local people and are generally committed to staying there, raising families.
‘Tis the season for giving. Give a neighbor a holiday porch pot from a local greenhouse like Carlson’s in Fenton, a loaf of bread, a pie or cookies from a local bakery like Crust. Bring a party hostess a great bottle of wine from D’Vine Wines at the Flint Farmers’ Market or Cork on Saginaw or build a fun charcuterie board with delicious goods from the Cheese Lady or Hills’ Cheese. Gift great scarves, clothing and accessories from Ecclections, Treasure Baskets and SHIFT, or find a unique men’s gift at Bridge Street Exchange … They’re all just around the corner.
In giving, we receive – so shop local stores and support small, family owned businesses whenever you can because WE are the fabric of YOUR city!