By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter
When Grand Ledge resident Jordan Stevens needs to go shopping, she has a decision to make. She is faced with the choice of spending her money at the local Walmart or one of the local shops downtown.
Because she sees an importance in supporting small businesses, she usually chooses the latter.
Whether residents need a haircut or cup of coffee, Grand Ledge has them covered. Grand Ledge has a greater percentage of local, mom and pop businesses than most communities in Michigan, said Bob Haddad Jr., owner of Haddad’s Agency and member of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce. Much of the success of these businesses is due to the support from people like Stevens, who live in the community.
“It’s more important for me to pay a little extra money to buy from a local business, then buy from a cheap commercial store like Walmart, because a small business will help put that family’s kids through college, whereas buying from Walmart will just get a CEO an extra yacht at the end of the year,” said Stevens.
Haddad said he thinks people naturally like to know who’s pocket their money is going to reach.
“Inherently, people would rather know their dollars are being reinvested in the same community they live in,” said Haddad. “So much of our money goes to people and places we don’t know. I like knowing my dollars are buying shoes for the guy behind the counter.”
According to Haddad, local businesses in Grand Ledge rely greatly on local customers.
“Without local dollars, they would go out of business,” said Haddad. “If you don’t shop at your local Walmart that’s not going to put them out of business, but if you don’t shop at your local bakery they might not be there the next day.”
One of business that relies on community support is the hair salon Talk of the Town, and according to employee Stephanie Miller, there are reasons that members of the community like to get their hair cut at Talk of the Town rather than a larger franchise.
“The town is pretty close. Everyone helps everybody out and everyone has everyone else’s back. It’a just a nice little town,” said Miller.
Haddad said he also thinks the importance of buying locally comes from the strength of community in Grand Ledge.
“They believe in who Grand Ledge is,” said Haddad. “If you can provide quality service, they would rather shop there than driving to Lansing.”
He also said businesses are drawn to the town by its small size.
“You can be a big fish in a little pond. It is big enough to support most mom and pop businesses, but not three of the same,” said Haddad. “You can own the market if you’re good at what you do.”
Stevens said Grand Ledge’s size is yet another reason supporting its local businesses is so important.
“Small towns like Grand Ledge don’t have the heavy foot traffic that a bigger city or metropolis does, so it’s important for rural community members to go out of their way to patronize local businesses to support our neighbors, friends, and family.”