YOUNGSTOWN FLEA. GUIDE TO #LOVELOCAL
We’re excited to have a conversation with our community about what it truly means to support and love local small businesses, creatives and makers. We know you love local, but what does that really mean? How can we best support these hard-working, courageous people? If you profess to love small brands and want more of them to thrive in Youngstown, we’re here to tell you how you can do more of that. And it’s not always about the money. We’ve heard so many shoppers at the Flea say how kind, generous, thoughtful our vendors are. That speaks volumes about who we choose to partner with. And how you engage with them matters. So here’s our best attempt to share with you how you can use to TRULY support people who are working super hard to deliver you quality and unique products and services.
OUR GUIDE TO SUPPORTING SMALL.
- Be Intentional. Make the decision now, that you WILL support small business. Pick one. Pick two. Pick a bunch. But actually commit to finding a business, a budget weekly, monthly, yearly, that you’ll intentionally spend on supporting our local economy and entrepreneurs. Keep your dough local as long as possible. It’s statistically proven to help bring economic sustainability to the community.
- Respect the process & the price. People spend hours, days, weeks, months in the studio to deliver quality unique products that are quite possibly not found anywhere else. The price of these items, consequently, will be “more expensive in price” but well worth its value and weight in gold. Make every attempt to honor the pricing of a small business. They need that from the product and you or they wouldn’t ask.
- Realize that small businesses are run by real people. Each small business has a body behind it. That body is “somebody” and they are deserving of value, respect and support. Treating them any different, as they make every attempt to navigate the trying challenges of entrepreneurship, isn’t the way. Instead of treating them poorly over an experience, a price or a product, find a small way to help them be a community success; something we can all be proud of.
- Explore. Be curious. Be committed. What anyone wants, including our small businesses, is people who are truly interesting in supporting them. That means they actually want you to ask thoughtful questions about how things are made. Our Makers LOVE telling you all about their process. It’s their passion. A “how the heck did you do all that?” can go a long way. Remember they are taking a huge leap! They are looking to do their best work not their worst. They WANT you to be satisfied and impressed. And if you don’t have anything nice to say, you probably shouldn’t say anything at all.
- Know what to expect. Small brands are usually, SMALL. They are not big. Using every ounce of patience, understanding and compassion for their situation, until such a time as we can expect more from them as they grow, is the way to go.
- Say Thank You. A “simple” thank you to show your appreciation goes a long way. So many small businesses don’t have support systems of people who get what it’s like to do what they do. Acknowledging their craft or saying thanks can be enough to get them through. Providing something to the world that brings value and is truly appreciated is why many small business owners do what they do.
- Don’t compare. Don’t criticize. Positive vibes only. That’s what will make shopping small better. Comparing/Criticizing quality, design, production, innovation or different approaches, will most likely not lead to the experience we’re all looking for. There is such a thing as a healthy critique, that can be offered, with permission. Ask if you can provide some constructive feedback. We’re sure most are wide open to receive it.
So, once you decide to shop small or to the Youngstown Flea, remember what it means to truly be a support. Shopping small is a symbiotic relationship. It’s not a “sideline” sport. You’ve actually got to get in the game. Good customers support good businesses. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be thankful. Be curious. And what you will get in return will be worth every penny. Come #ShopTheFlea #ShopSmallYo