Top 5 Reasons to Shop Local This Holiday Season

This holiday season looks a little different, but we can still share joy. Shop Small and support your favorite small businesses – both in-store and online – all holiday season long.

1. Economic Stimulus. Supporting local is more than just a hashtag, it’s a lifestyle. Shopping locally supports local families and our local economy by keeping dollars local, so they can make more of an impact in our town. When someone opens their own business, they hire local people, pay local taxes, and source goods locally. When you shop local, you expand opportunity for others in your community. The health of small business is a direct reflection of the overall well-being of a community. Healthy Small Businesses = Healthy Local Economy.

 

2. Connect & Experience. We live in a “buy with one click” world. But there are still many consumers who want an experience, who desire interaction; that’s where small businesses and downtowns can thrive. They serve as a place to socialize and gather. Shopping locally means bumping into friends, benefitting from the expertise of local retailers, enjoying lively streets, and discovering something new. In a world where people are plugged in 24-7, many folks still desire a unique shopping experience.

3. Job Creation. Small, local businesses are the largest employers nationally. Compared to Amazon, independent retailers create 2x as many jobs for the same amount of revenue.1 Plus, the more jobs you have in your local community, the less people are going to have to commute, which means more time and less traffic.

4. Community Investment. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future. Local business owners also donate more to local charities than non-local owners. In places with more local businesses, people have stronger social ties2 and participate in more civic affairs.3

5. You Matter More. You might have read about exerting influence with your purchasing choices, or “voting with your wallet.” It’s a fact that all businesses respond to their customers, but your values and desires are much more influential to your local business than the big box stores.

Promoting the “support local” initiative is something that we celebrate as an organization on a daily basis. We value strong partnerships with the business community, and we believe that people want to support local businesses too. But if you MUST shop on Amazon, consider enrolling in the AmazonSmile program and designating Laurel Main Street as your charity of choice. Click here for more information on the AmazonSmile program and how you can help local non-profits.

 

Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It Means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources, employ local workers, and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.

– paraphrased from Michael H. Shuman, author of the book Going Local.

 

  1. “Amazon’s Stranglehold,” Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Nov. 2016
  2. “The Health and Wealth of US Counties,” Troy C. Blanchard, et. All., Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, 2011.
  3. “The Configuration of Local Economic Power and Civic Participation in the Global Economy,” Troy Blanchard and Todd L. Matthews, Social Forces, June 2006.

Laurel Main Street Receives 2020 National Main Street Accreditation

 

For Immediate Release                                             Contact:       Judi Holifield, Executive Director

Laurel Main Street                                                                              601-433-3255

                                                                                                                    info@laurelmainstreet.com

 

Laurel Main Street Receives 2020 National Main Street Accreditation

Laurel, MS (June 30, 2020) Laurel Main Street has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program.  Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™. 

“We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

In 2019 alone, $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment was generated, 6,466 net new businesses were opened, 32,316 net new were jobs created, and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in Main Street America communities.

Laurel Main Street’s performance is evaluated by Mississippi Main Street, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet ten rigorous performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

 

Since 2007, Laurel has seen over $40 million in private re-investments in downtown, which contribute to the renovation and rehabilitation of downtown properties. Laurel Main Street has facilitated 19 façade improvement grants, totaling over $47,ooo dollars in the past 24 months. Without the support of our partners, members, volunteers, and community, this work would not be possible.

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ABOUT LAUREL MAIN STREET

THE PURPOSE OF Laurel Main Street is to establish a vibrant commercial district in and around Downtown Laurel, enhance our community and heritage, foster a center of activity and ensure economic stability for the heart of Laurel, Mississippi through concentrated efforts of design, promotion, organization and economic revitalization.

ABOUT MAIN STREET AMERICA

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $85.43 billion in new public and private investment, generated 672,333 net new jobs and 150,079 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 295,348 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Resources for Small Business Owners

To our dear business owners, Main Street supporters, members, and partners:

We understand that these are uncertain times and uncharted waters. We are working to compile a list of resources that may be beneficial to you and your business. If you have not already, please join the Laurel Main Street Members Facebook Group. We are sharing information there as quickly as we receive it. Additionally, we are listing resources here, on our blog, in the hopes that you’ll be able to find the information that is most helpful to you, all in one place. Laurel has always been a city known for its tenacity, and this time will be no different.

We Are Laurel!

For information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the following government public health organization websites:

For resources related to small business, please visit the following websites:

Mississippi Power Project Share & Community Connection

Mississippi Power, through its Foundation, has announced a $350,000 commitment to assist South Mississippi residents, local charities and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $350,000 will be dispersed via Mississippi Power’s Project Share and Community Connection programs:

·         $200,000 for Small Businesses – Businesses with 50 employees or less are eligible for this new Project Share program distributed through Catholic Charities.

·         $100,000 for Project Share – Distributed through Catholic Charities. Any Mississippi Power customer with a demonstrated financial need may be eligible to apply for Project SHARE by simply calling 1-855-847-0555.

·         $50,000 for Local Charities – Food banks, non-violence and youth shelters, and other agencies that count on Community Connection donations to operate, especially during a crisis.

We suggest that you call Catholic Charities at 1-855-847-0555 for more information or to apply. 

Help for Live Event Cancellations

If you feel led to assist in efforts to support members of our community who have been impacted through the cancellation of live events, here is sample language to send when writing or emailing elected officials.

Sample letter to Congress:

Subject: Protect Live Events Small Businesses
Dear Representative [NAME], 

As you consider relief legislation to assist Americans in responding to COVID-19, I am writing to urge you to include resources to assist those of us for whom congregating in large gatherings is actually our living. 

I work in the live events industry and we have seen our revenues dry up virtually overnight. I know we all have to do our part to fight this pandemic and that stopping large gatherings through social distancing is our best approach. My hope is that the assistance you are developing provides fast, substantial, and easily accessible aid for small businesses like mine.

Thank you for considering my request, and thank you for all you are doing to help us get back on our feet after this crisis.

Sincerely,

[CREATOR NAME], [TITLE]
[BUSINESS NAME]
[BUSINESS ADDRESS]

Reminders

#ShopSmall with Us on Small Business Saturday – November 30th

 The #ShopSmall Movement is Coming to The City Beautiful!

For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores on Black Friday to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the excitement of it all, we forget that some of our most enjoyable shopping experiences were found at a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the crowded department stores.

Small business owners pour their hearts into every detail of their business.  They strive to create an enjoyable and unforgettable shopping experience for their guests.  Now it’s time to celebrate these entrepreneurs who put so much love into every detail of their business and the experiences they provide for their customers.  

On November 30th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Be a Part of the #ShopSmall Movement

On November 30th businesses all over Downtown Laurel will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers with special events, giveaways, promotions and more! 

Business owners, As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our nationwide audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a Main Street member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team.

Shoppers, do you believe in supporting small businesses?  The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience. The effect of an event like Small Business Saturday has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Laurel’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them. So invite friends to shop with you.  Share your shopping experiences on social media using the hashtag #shopsmallinLaurel.  Let small business owners know you value their efforts.     

Why #ShopSmall?

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger — an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact on the local economy.

Small businesses help communities thrive.  There are 254,598 small businesses operating in Mississippi.  They make up 99.3% of all businesses in our state.  Small businesses in Mississippi created 6,652 new jobs in 2018 alone.  That means that almost half of all employees in the state of Mississippi work for a small business.  Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant.  When small businesses succeed, we all do.

Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a chain store where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend over $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.

As the official Neighborhood Champion for Laurel’s Small Business Saturday, Laurel Main Street has worked to bring together an incredible group of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 30th event!

So join us on Small Business Saturday to get great deals, find some incredible, unique local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are making a difference in our city!

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at helping local businesses compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  More than 100 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year.  Join the movement and shop local on November 30th this year!

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #ShopLaurel

Tagged christmasdowntownentrepreneureventlaurel msshop localshop smallshoppingsmall business saturday

“The One” Awards

Once a year the Laurel Main Street organization honors members of our downtown community for their commitment to the Main Street cause and their dedication to our community with “The One” Awards.  The awards were named for a phrase that pops up again and again during brainstorming or event planning sessions:

“Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of THE ONEs who are doing it!” 

We celebrate the dreamers, the doers, and THE ONES whose desire to improve their community is evident in all their pursuits.Attendees enjoying dinner at Laurel Main Street's annual awards banquet.

LMS President, Lew Yoder, welcomes attendees to the annual awards banquet.

Our attendees enjoyed great food and fellowship at Studio5Fifty with those who share their affinity for downtown Laurel.  Awards were created by local calligrapher and artist Jade Yoder of Paper Studio and were presented by Laurel Main Street President, Lew Yoder.

Downtown Business of the Year

Wayne & Melissa Bryant, owners of The Loblolly Boutique & Crescent Line Toys were named Downtown Business of the Year.  They are THE ONES who have worked tirelessly to create an engaging and inviting atmosphere inside their store, and even on the sidewalk in front!  Their work in the downtown community is widespread and we appreciate their dedication to downtown Laurel and Laurel Main Street!  Whether they are rallying downtown merchants, creating the most magical scene in Trustmark Art Park for The Magic of Downtown at Christmas, the Bryants have shown that their love for downtown knows no bounds.

award recipients accepting their award

The children of Wayne & Melissa Bryant accepting the award for Downtown Business of the Year on their behalf.

THE ONE Award

THE ONE Award is presented each year to Laurel Main Street’s top volunteer.  This year, Carl & Mandy Buchanan received THE ONE Award.  The Buchanans are fixtures of the downtown scene and are always ready to lend a hand.  At Main Street events, you’ll often find Mandy helping out in the t-shirt trailer, but their real dedication shines in their artwork.  For years, attendees to the Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off have had the opportunity to purchase one of Carl’s “bottomless” chili bowls.  These one-of-a-kind bowls have somewhat of a cult following, with people from around the world asking if they can purchase one and have it shipped to them.  Carl and Mandy also create the awards for the Chili Cook Off and Crawfest — unique platters, which serve as a reminder of a wonderful day in downtown Laurel.  The Buchanans serve with a cheerful heart and are always on board to lend a hand or throw an extra bowl in the kiln.  Thank you for your service to Laurel Main Street!

award recipients accepting their award

Carl & Mandy Buchanan receive “The One” award for Laurel Main Street volunteers of the year.

 

 

 

All photos property of Robby Scruggs and Scruggs Photography.