• Long Beach Breeze

Show local businesses some love so they can survive

It’s that time of year again – time to pick out the perfect gifts for friends and family – that important holiday tradition that can create lasting memories for many.

This time of year is important for businesses, as well. Their future depends on how robust their sales are during this season.

That is why it is imperative that Long Beach residents do their best to shop locally.

It’s not uncommon to hear the sentiment, “Long Beach is a great place to live” expressed among community members. However, many people, when tasked with getting their holiday shopping done, will quickly hop into their cars and drive off to do their shopping in a neighboring city, not thinking about how shopping elsewhere can impact the “great place to live” that they call home.

Every single dollar spent outside of Long Beach just “disappears” from Long Beach. It doesn’t help send Long Beach kids to school. It doesn’t help pay for fire and police resources. It doesn’t help pave or maintain Long Beach’s roads. It doesn’t help preserve Long Beach’s jobs. And it doesn’t keep the little local businesses Long Beach residents know and love staying in business.

Local businesses enter the 2021 holidays after weathering twenty months of COVID-19-related insecurities and challenges. They have suffered unimagined financial hardship, not just from decreased (or no) revenue due to mandated closures and lightened customer traffic, but also from increased labor and goods expenses, the overall labor shortage, and increased cleaning and other operational costs.

For many of Long Beach’s local business owners, reserves may have been nearly depleted. A weak holiday season could force some of them to make some hard decisions at the first of the year.

Small business owners don’t have a corporate “parent” to help them survive during hard times. The small business owner typically wears almost all of the hats in his/her business – when employees call in sick or can’t work and there’s no one to cover the shift, the business owner has to fill in – or else close their establishment until someone is available to work. When there’s not enough income to pay both the bills and the employees, the owner has to take the hit - and not take any money home to his/her family.

These small business owners – and their employees - are Long Beach residents…friends, family, neighbors, members of local churches and clubs… and the success or failure of their businesses impacts the Long Beach community directly.

The more that Long Beach residents shop elsewhere, the fewer employees local retailers can afford to have, and the less they can afford to pay the employees that they do have. The employees, in turn, can no longer afford to live here and they leave, thereby further reducing Long Beach’s tax base and causing other businesses to struggle to survive.

In other words, in order to keep Long Beach as “a great place to live,” the community needs to support local businesses. And just because a business has a “national” logo on it doesn’t mean the franchise owner isn’t a local member of the community. Long Beach actually has very few retailers and restaurants that are owned by a corporate entity; most businesses in town are owned by individuals who love and care for the community enough to have invested their money and livelihoods in the town.

Long Beach’s wonderful and unique shopping, dining, and service options offer local flavor and flair. Long Beach residents are urged to express their community pride and show their love, support, and patronage to the small and local businesses this holiday season – and beyond.

These businesses need love, support, and patronage – and they need it NOW.

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