Shopping small helps local businesses

A dimly lit room with a comfy-cozy feeling in a home-style environment. That’s what small businesses like Small Tea strive for, and it’s what they’ve achieved so far that is so incredible.

With the holiday season in full swing, all businesses alike are preparing themselves for the rush of customers headed their war during this merry time of year. However, big businesses and online shopping have taken over the Christmas market and are outproducing smaller businesses at a staggering rate. This trend continues to rise and some question if small businesses will even continue to exist in the near future. Danielle Sevilla, manager of local tea shop Small Tea, believes the trend is definitely a problem, but small businesses will never cease to exist.

“Ugh. [The trend] doesn’t make me very happy, but I find that there will always be a need for craftsmanship, a need for quality, a need for knowing exactly where your sourcing things from so. . . small businesses are always going to exist, and thrive.” A small business by definition is an independently owned and operated company that is limited in its size and revenue. During Christmas time, shoppers hunt for the very best deals they can find. This is where small businesses have trailed, as at times they just can’t compete with a Target or an Amazon by selling an Xbox One at $200. This has lead to the rise in online and chain store shopping, leaving the smaller businesses in the dust. However, just as Sevilla said, a need and desire for craftsmanship will always keep business coming back, and Small Tea is the perfect example of a small business thriving in a market that is being overwhelmed by “the Big Business”.

Today, more than fifty percent of the entire United States population is fueled from one common drink: coffee. The “Big Coffee Business” drove back Small Tea, in order to keep its business running and pockets full. This competing force represented everything not just Small Tea fought against, but all small businesses. Sevilla believes that big business forced culture rather than cultivating it and changed society in the process. “I don’t think that the chain stores have become popular as far as people liking them, but because they have a lot of money they are able to open stores almost everywhere. For example, if you take Starbucks. . . they open almost one store in China every fifteen hours,” said supporter of small businesses, Said Ajirafe. Big businesses have the money and the power to change where and how consumers buy their products, however what will keep the customers of small businesses, in Ajirafe opinion, is loyalty.

“I think the most important thing that’s going to keep people attracted to small businesses is supporting [them]. If you want to go get the best deals, then you’re going to go to the big businesses or online,” said Aljirafe. While the “Big Boys” can offer better deals, small businesses offer many perks that big businesses can’t match. “Small Tea is somewhere that we like to say is a community gathering place, somewhere where you can relax and unwind,” said Sevilla. Small businesses, like Small Tea, offer unique and interesting ways to allow the community to unite together as a whole. For example, Small Tea offers a unique dining experience which consists of a lounge area surrounded by big sofas and couches. These little perks are often overlooked, but shouldn’t be. Sevilla added, “we want the community to come together in a place that’s beautiful and calm. . . and generally small businesses cater to that.”

While the popularity of big businesses has made the future of small businesses seem bleak, it’s almost certain that small businesses will not be going anywhere. While the popularity and numbers may fall over the years because of the pure power that big businesses possess, small businesses offer too many positives that are able to impact local communities in such unique ways to not always be around full-time.

Contributions from Brian Houtenbrink-Hoyo, Sebastian Valdes-Dennis, and Christopher Vazquez

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