Shop small and support local this holiday season – The NAU Review
by Miranda Sweetowner of Rainbow’s End Boutique in downtown Flagstaff, College of Education alumna, 1998
The holidays are once again upon us! Each year, I get excited by the holiday decorations, hot cocoa and the smiles exchanged by strangers. I have been setting the stage in my shop for your holiday shopping experience for 22 years. Yes, I did say 22 years. This is my favorite time of year. I enjoy decorating, making my window displays festive and singing along to the holiday music playing in the background. I have done this for so long that it is a comforting routine.
Being a small business owner has its challenges. Through the years, things have changed. When I first started Rainbow’s End, online shopping wasn’t a thing. Big box stores had their sales, but it seemed our quaint downtown had its draw for shoppers, and I didn’t have to worry. I’m not saying that our downtown hasn’t remained robust, but it just takes a bit more effort to make sure that customers find my shop among all of the hubbub happening throughout Flagstaff.
I am proud to be a small business owner and love our community for supporting locals. When you shop and spend money locally, you are supporting a family, a dream and the tenacity it takes to put everything on the line for a vision to come true. When you visit a local establishment, I believe you can feel something different that you can’t find anywhere else. Chances are you will meet the owner—yes, the actual person who created the dream. I love spending time with my customers, sharing how the shop started and who I am in the community.
Here are a few more words of encouragement to shop small. Money spent at a locally owned business stays in our local economy. Small businesses make vital contributions to the community with jobs created. Small businesses have a less negative impact on the environment, and we represent the values of Flagstaff.
There is nothing I would rather be doing than running my small independent shop. Even though owning a small business is a lot of work, it is also rewarding. I am reminded every day that I am entrenched in this community and strive to give back all that has been given to me. So, this holiday season, enjoy supporting our local businesses and take notice of the time and effort given to make your experience a memorable one.