Column: Support locally-owned businesses, as they support your community

Russ Kent - Aim Media Midwest

Locally-owned businesses are a pretty good barometer of how a community is thriving.

A busy “main street’ often coincides with a strong community. Hopefully, both are filled with confident and happy business owners and residents.

That’s what this special product of Aim Media Midwest is all about. It was available in Wednesday’s Galion Inquirer and is in this week’s Bellville Star and Morrow County Sentinel, as well as on; and

Healthy communities are good for, well, everyone. And with this magazine, we are doing what we can to promote some of the locally-owned businesses in our communities.

We have focused our efforts on the Delaware and Sunbury area; Mount Gilead and Morrow County, the charming area of Bellville and Galion and Crawford County.

We produced this special magazine for a number of reasons, but mostly to let others in our readership area in on some of the secrets of these five communities.

There is something in this magazine for everyone.

From Memory Lane, an auto museum in Galion, and The Candi Bar, more than just a coffee shot in the same community; to Elzy Milling and Trade in Bellville; to 8 Sisters Bakery and on the Square Antiques in Mount Gilead; to Christmas on the Square in Sunbury; to DPS Antiques and Collectibles in Delaware; there truly is a place in these communities that can use your patronage. These businesses thrive on local knowledge and customer service and are always looking for new fans.

From the website,, here are 10 reason to shop locally.

Local Economic Stimulus. When you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in the community because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing local helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base.

Non-Profits Receive Greater Support. Local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners.

Unique Businesses Create Character and Prosperity. The unique character of your local community is defined in large part by the business that reside there, and that plays a big factor in your overall satisfaction with where you live and the value of you home and property.

Environmental Impact Is Reduced. Small local business usually set up shop in the town/village center, providing a centralized variety that is much friendlier to a community’s walk score than out of town shopping malls. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

New Jobs Are Provided By Local Businesses. Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. Plus the more jobs you have in your local community the less people are going to have to commute which means more time and less traffic and pollution.

Customer Service Is Better. Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service. You are also going to see these people around town and they are less likely to blow you off or be rude because they have to face you day after day.

Local Business Owners Invest In Community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future.

Public Benefits Far Outweigh Public Costs. Local businesses require comparatively little infrastructure and more efficiently utilize public services relative to chain stores.

Competition And Diversity Leads To More Consumer Choices. A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

You Matter More. We talk a lot about exerting influence with your purchasing choices, or “voting with your wallet.” It’s a fact that businesses respond to their customers but your values and desires are much more influential to your local community business than the large big box stores. To read more about going local check out Ecolocalizer, a great site that provides news, ideas and inspiration to “Think globally, act locally.”

Whether shopping for birthday gifts, something for the holidays, something for lunch or dinner, of just something to do on a weekend evening or a quiet evening, please give some of the locally-owned businesses on your community a chance.

They are there for you. They hope you will be there for them, too.

Russ Kent

Aim Media Midwest

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer and Bellville Star. Email him at [email protected]

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer and Bellville Star. Email him at [email protected]