"I heard about this neat little shop around the corner but I never have time to drop in." Sound familiar? If so, we have a holiday challenge for you! (OK - two challenges!)
Challenge #1: Visit at least one small business in the Hershey Harrisburg Region that you've never been to.
(Photo Blog continues below the video.)
Shopping Small = A Personal Touch
Small Business Saturday is November 28, and we encourage shoppers to support the local economy by visiting independently-owned stores that can sometimes be overlooked or - worse yet - taken for granted. Mary Sherman, owner of Hearts Design at Needful Things in Perry County, says it best. "As small business owners, my husband and I make sure to support other small businesses because we know if we don't, they won't be here tomorrow." Mary tells us that she loves the challenge of finding new and unique items that are anything but a dime a dozen. Leave your phone number, because she'll remember what you liked and give you a call when something similar hits the shelves!
Shopping Small = Outside of the "Box"
Are you reading this on a tablet or smart phone? How many apps on that device belong to your children? (Busted. I know a six-year-old who can crush candy with the best of them!) Electronics host worthwhile educational games and programs, but the philosophy of the sales team at Toys on the Square in Hummelstown is based on "screen free" play. Aisle after aisle, choose from toys and activities designed to challenge our children through imagination and outdoor play. When you're looking for something different, you'll find it here.
Shopping Small = Hand-Crafted
Sometimes what looks like one business on the outside, is a collection of small businesses on the inside. The Millworks in Harrisburg is a huge draw for locally-sourced food and great live entertainment. But with more space than the restaurant needed and a commitment to the cultural scene in Midtown and the entire region, the owners also created space for local artists to create and sell their work. A lobby gallery features a rotating display of the artists' pieces, and guests have the ability to watch the artists at work.
Shopping Small = Rare Finds
Shirts and ties and sweaters and socks are...functional? We'll give you that. But we'd rather give you a tour of an 85-year-old, two-story barn that's built on as much history as it houses. The huge parabolic arch barn that is now Crossroads Antique Mall in Hershey was once part of the Milton Hershey School facility. Where school children once milked cows and tended to other important chores in the 1930s, more than 80 antiques and collectibles vendors now sell everything from original Hershey's Chocolate Factory candy molds to wedding dresses and diamonds.
Shopping Small = Commitment to Community
Think back to Mary Sherman's quote. "They won't be here tomorrow." In a busy holiday season, we can all relate to feeling the pressure of trading a leisurely stroll through the corner stores and art galleries for the convenience and routine commodities of the larger retailers. But if we don't support local businesses, we're not just missing out on treasure chest after treasure chest of arts, crafts, recipes and a host of "I had no idea that existed anymore" revelations. We're missing out on the chance to encourage growth. To inspire new endeavors. To keep our communities strong from the ground up.
Convinced? Good! Let's get to the second challenge.
Challenge #2: Like what you see? Get social. Small businesses often rely on word-of-mouth marketing, so every positive Tweet, Tag, Like and Shared Selfie matters ten-fold. Tag HHRVB and our bureau can help to spread the word ever farther!