If you are the owner of a small business, don’t expect your community to shop with you just because they are “supposed” to. Make sure you are keeping current with what people need and want, offer excellent customer service and get involved in community activities so people know who you are and what you stand for. It is your responsibility to give your customers a reason to shop local.
Now, ready to really get down to it and take on some harder tasks? If you are looking to buy your first home, give the fixer upper in the heart of downtown a chance and turn that run down property into a beacon of hope for the whole neighborhood. If you are constantly discouraged by what seem to be the “lost” youth in your community, get involved in a mentoring program or boys and girls club. If you don’t have a program like that going already, be open to starting one. If you have a heart for suffering children, become a foster parent. If you are not happy with decisions being made by the leaders of your community and think you have something to offer, run for office. Tired of looking at trash in your park or on your streets? Organize a community clean-up day, or, just go pick it up! If you have been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, start a small business or cottage industry. Find the people in your community that you think are “less fortunate” than you and go meet them. Walk and talk with the people that are struggling with addiction, pain, homelessness, hunger and poverty. It will surprise you what comes out of those relationships. Don’t sit around and get too comfortable and begin to expect that “someone else” will take care of all of those things. None of these things are “easy” and most of them will require you to give up a Saturday, learn how to use a power tool, or force you to operate out of your comfort zone.
My goal in this life is not to be famous or on TV. My goal is for my little business to be successful, for my community to prosper and for God to be glorified in all that I do. My hope in sharing these thoughts with you is that you will feel encouraged and empowered to set out and get your hands a little dirty in the work of loving your community! If all of this sounds overwhelming to you and you are just not sure where to get started, just remember you can always start with one. Andy Stanley says it over and over and I remind myself of this daily “do for one what you wish you could do for everyone”.
To those that have visited our shop, ordered online, read and shared blog posts, interacted on social media, and to those that I know pray for us; thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued love, support and kindness. Supporting The Southern Mercantile allows us to continue to work hard in our community, to keep our business open to be a place of hope and encouragement to those who enter, and to continue to fight for the success of our small town. Every purchase you make in our store, at a show, or online is not just a simple purchase of goods. It is an investment in our local community that helps keep our mission moving in the right direction!
With love and a grateful heart, Roxie