Tag Archives: Small Business

A Sense of Community (not the TV show)

6 Dec

This holiday season – and the local activities that revolve around it – has me thinking a lot about community.  Dictionary.com defines community as “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”   In this instance, I’m mostly thinking of the “specific locality” type.

We live in a relatively small town here in Northeast Ohio. Medina has a population of just roughly 27,000.  However, Medina does a wonderful job encouraging community, and getting people to engage with each other in a civic way.  The downtown has been lovingly preserved, with nice shops, restaurants and events that often draw good crowds.

Medina’s picturesque downtown

We are very fortunate to be in an area where the idea of “community” has been taken so seriously by our town’s leaders, and that there are several organizations that work very hard all year round to ensure it stays that way.  From our Main Street Medina association to the Medina County Historical Society, there are many people who are passionate about keeping our town – and our sense of community – alive and thriving.  I believe this is a concept that tends to feed on itself.  When just a few committed people really work at that sense of community – holding events, preserving history, encouraging downtown commerce – the more other people willingly start to appreciate and work to perpetuate these ideals.

Candlelight Walk 2012

As I’ve now been a resident of Medina for a little over two years, I’ve definitely come to appreciate – and therefore more frequently attend – the events they hold in the downtown area.  From the summer concerts in the park to the Candlelight Walk, I’ve happily enjoyed many activities that are unique to our town.  In turn, I’ve become more committed to wanting the downtown to keep thriving.  I attend the concerts, and make donations.  I patronize the restaurants on our town square.  I shop the wonderful, unique stores we have here.  I attend every Saturday Farmers’ Market that I can, and buy as much of my produce there as I’m able.  I’m really not having to go out of my way – or spend a lot more – to do all these activities; yet my hope is I’m helping to ensure that they will continue long into the future.

Medina Community Band concert in the town gazebo

Wherever you live, I encourage you to find a way to support your community.  Even if it’s just following the city’s Facebook page or Twitter feed, or eating a meal at the corner café versus the chain up the street, I think everyone can, at least in some small way, help to encourage their local community to thrive.  It just takes a little forethought.

Once you start, however, don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting more involved.  When you see what gems your own corner of the world has to offer, you just might become another passionate person who helps to keep that spirit of community alive.

Another great way to support our wider local community (the good old USA) is to buy USA made products!  Today’s holiday deal at miuscollection.com is sweaters!  All MiUS sweaters are 15% off, and enjoy free shipping on orders over $50.  Use code cozy12 at checkout.

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SHOPPING FOR A CAUSE

26 Nov

I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of online shopping.  I don’t have to burn any gas, I can be dressed however I want (or not dressed at all…), there are no crowds to fight or snooty salespeople to make me feel insecure, and I can take my time.  Many times, I can also score free shipping, too.  What’s not to love??

If there’s anything better than shopping online, it’s shopping online AND contributing to a good cause at the same time.  That’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned.  So if you aren’t done with your holiday shopping yet, please consider spending some of your hard-earned money somewhere that it can do even more good while scoring you some great deals and great gifts.

Here are some retail sites that do a wonderful job of giving back in some way when you make a purchase.  Some work through outright donations; some give back by supporting ideals that might be close to your heart. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though, so do some research on your favorite causes, and see where else you can make an impact with your shopping dollars!

  1.  MiUS Collection, of course!  If, like many of us, you’re worried about the state of our country’s economy, how about making sure your shopping money stays right in the US?  MiUS carries beautiful, unique fashions, all made here in the USA.  You’re not only supporting our economy by shopping at MiUS; you’re also supporting some “homegrown” up and coming designers – and in turn, helping them grow as another US employer.  Definitely a bonus!

www.miuscollection.com

  1.  I COULD actually list this as #2-10, if I want to be lazy.  But when you log onto one of the GreaterGood Network of sites, such as www.thebreastcancersite.com, not only can you help contribute to mammograms for women in need… but you can also click the seven other tabs across the top, and contribute to adult literacy, rainforest preservation, veteran support, and more – AND shop to support each cause, too!  Click the button on each site’s homepage to contribute to the cause for free; then you can shop to your heart’s content from a huge variety of very cool merchandise.   The best part is, each item you can shop for lists exactly how your purchase can help that cause.  And the shipping costs are always very reasonable.
  1. Another cool way to give while you get is through http://www.igive.com.  Here’s the deal: you choose a charity to support when you sign up for free (they have tons of them on there, including local ones), and install the “iGive” button. Then when you shop your regular online retailers, if that retailer is connected with iGive, the button will pop up automatically and you can see how that site supports your giving.  SO easy!  And the list of retailers through which you can donate is HUGE, including such major sites as amazon.com; Ann Taylor; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and more.  Those donations can add up fast, all while you make your normal purchases.
  1. If you’re concerned about the environment, some good places to shop are green.ebay.com and www.bonafidegreengoods.com.  All the items offered for sale on both sites have been specifically chosen for environmental-friendliness, fair sourcing, and sustainability.  Not to mention they have a lot of very unique and attractive items for yourself or gift-giving.

You can find unique, beautiful, useful and/or handmade items at all of these sites, and support your favorite causes at the same time.    And the more you shop for a cause, the more you will get in the habit of knowing exactly what your retail dollars are supporting – and that is always a good thing.  An informed consumer is a consumer with a more powerful, more effective voice.  So go do some shopping, and make your dollars count!

The Adulteration of Thanksgiving

15 Nov

I don’t know about you….but I’ve been getting bombarded with commercials, catalogues, and flyers for “Black Friday” shopping.  But what struck me the most this year is NOT the crazy prices and deals but how many of the retailers have chosen to adulterate and morph “Thanksgiving” into a “Black Friday” extension by starting “early shopping hours” on Thanksgiving Day.  This truly saddens me as Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks with your family and loved ones and now you will be caught between eating your piece of mom’s apple pie and and getting a piece of the deals from electronics or other imported goods those stores are offering.    The Huttington Post mentions how several petitions have been created on website Change.org suggesting that chains keep their doors shut on Thanksgiving. One petition from a Target employee who wanted the chain to remain closed on the holiday and avoid “Thanksgiving creep” had more than 148,000 supporters over the weekend, but yet Target like many of the other USA retailers chose to open their doors early to compete with this growing trend.  As a consumer and American, I see this as the epitome of commercialization of a great holiday, so I hope you think twice before leaving that football game on Thanksgiving to get those “deals” at the stores that are commercializing this holiday season to that point!   I am now done with my speech for today!  LOL

I actually deterred from my original post to add that speech.  Any-who…what I originally started writing this post about is a great “new trend” called Small Business Saturday.   You may have seen the logo in some of your local stores…Looks like this:

MiUS Collection is part of this effort to bring together consumers and shop your small businesses both locally and cyber. 🙂  This effort makes a great difference to small business many which in this economic climate have been suffering and some are at the brink of closing.   So…I saw this quote on Made in the USA challenge website…(BTW…you might want to take a look at that site for Made in the USA holiday gift ideas), and it really carried the message for small businesses.  So I am including it in today’s post:

I urge you this holiday, when you are going through your holiday gift list…Think Small, think Local and think USA made 😉  If anyone is looking for a holiday gift for idea, tomorrow’s post you will hear from my dear friend and author, Kelley Grealis, and she’ll talk about her novel “The Descendant.”   It’s a great read, and it’s a self-published in the $10-$15 range…once again supporting your local small business and authors 😉  I realize that I just gave another one of my Millie speeches!  Sorry…promise I will stick to my cute style boards, cute outfits and such on my next post.  LOL!

Let me know what you think.

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