According to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), small businesses of 500 employees or fewer make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses and 99.7% of firms with paid employees.
Of the new jobs created between 1995 and 2020, small businesses accounted for 62%—12.7 million compared to 7.9 million by large enterprises.
Although the Snoqualmie Valley does have a few big employees, like the rest of the U.S., small businesses make up the lion’s share of our local economy. There are many reasons why you may choose different Valley businesses, such as parking, convenience or product options.
However, shopping locally can do so much more for our area than one would think. Here are some excellent reasons to shop locally and how it benefits you and the world around you.
- Customer Service is better. Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers. You see these people around town; they know your name and know what you like. The Salish Lodge & Spa is well known in the Valley for its impeccable customer service. If you haven’t tried their Country Breakfast, it is a can’t-miss Valley tradition.
- Local Economic Stimulus. When you buy things from locally owned businesses, more money is kept in the community because local businesses often purchase from other neighborhood businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing locally helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base. Beautifully Made Cakes, Arete Coffee, and the North Bend Bar and Grill are three local examples of businesses working together to benefit each other and keep profits in the local family.
- Local Non-Profits Receive Greater Support. Non-profit organizations receive an average of 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses. And local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners. Snoqualmie’s Infusion Bar & Grill is committed to the community and also engages in local fundraisers to benefit the people and the city. Says SnoValley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kelly Coughlin, “Deb donates to everyone and gives till it hurts.”
- It Keeps the Community Unique. Our special businesses are an essential part of the offbeat vibe of our valley. Local tourism businesses also benefit from having independent stores with soul and character. A great example of an innovative business would be North Bend’s Karakoram, founded by twin brothers in February 2008 to “follow our dream of combining our careers with our shared passion for the mountains.”
- It’s Friendly to the Environment. When you do business with a local proprietor, you are contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution, which reduces your environmental impact. Small companies usually set up shop in town, providing a centralized shopping district that is much friendlier to a community’s walk score than out-of-town shopping. The Keeper’s Collective not only sells amazing skincare made from their own honeybee colonies, but they hold Bee Camps in June and July where junior beekeepers can learn all about honeybees and “how they work for the good of the whole colony, while nurturing our planet with the gift of pollination, too!“
- It Creates Local Jobs. Again, local businesses are the largest employers nationally. The more jobs we have in our community, the fewer people will have to commute. Even a small business needs workers to help sell its products and services. The more we support them, the more jobs will be created and the better off we will be. The Snoqualmie Casino and Tanner Electric are amazing job creators benefitting the entire valley.
- Invest in the Community. Businesses that are owned by people who live in the community are less likely to leave, and they are then more invested in the community’s future.
- The Benefits Far Outweigh the Costs. Local businesses require less infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services when compared to larger stores entering the community. They also demand fewer tax incentives to do business in the community.
- Competition and Innovation Lead to More Choices and Originality. Large chains tend to make communities look the same; independent businesses bring in originality. Shopping locally promotes individuality and breathes new life into communities. More small businesses are the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term. Amy Allen, the owner of the Persnickety Owl, was inspired by the famous arguments you see on Facebook. Her unique t-shirt designs show the valley that you know that the bears (and Bigfoot) were here before us!
Lastly, You Might Win a Contest! The local chamber invites you to join them for their Shop The Valley Contest. The contest began November 26th and runs until December 15th; customers who shop, dine, and play at participating businesses can enter to win $1000! Please go to https://visitsnovalley.com/shoplocal/ for instructions on how to enter. There will be 3 separate $1000 winners- one in Snoqualmie, one in North Bend, and one in Unincorporated King County. Also, the businesses of the winning receipts will receive a marketing package worth $1000. They are looking forward to seeing everyone at our local businesses!