Today is Small Business Saturday – a day designed to encourage people to shop and support small businesses.
We want to celebrate by sharing stories from everyday people whose lives have been positively impacted by a small business in some way. From the small moments that have made a big difference in someone’s life to everyday encounters with a small business that are imprinted on our memories.
Because it’s not just the products and services you offer that make a difference. It’s that something extra that large corporations rarely retain when they become big businesses.
It’s the human touch. The going-the-extra-mile. The caring about each and every one of your customers.
And because sometimes we forget that in the busyness of business, we wanted to remind you just what a great job you’re doing, and what an impact you’re really having.
Let me start by sharing the story about my engagement ring…
After proposing, my husband wanted me to choose my engagement ring but after browsing dozens of jewellers I realised my small fingers weren’t compatible with the style of rings I loved.
That is until my best friend recommended a local family run jewellers who take commissions.
After meeting with the owner and sharing styles I liked, he designed the perfect ring – a vintage halo-style that fits my size H finger.
From the very first meeting, to the 3D printed mockup I got to try on, to choosing the perfect diamond to finally placing the ring on my finger, I felt like a VIP.
And, after thinking I’d have to settle for something that wasn’t really ‘me’ I ended up with a ring that suits me and is the perfect reminder of the commitment my husband and I have made to each other.
Jen from Sussex
The record shop fuelling musical discovery
As anyone who’s grown up in the countryside will testify, getting around by public transport can be a nightmare.
In my teenage years, I’d often find myself drifting aimlessly around Wrexham town centre, killing time, waiting for one of the ‘hourly’ buses to get home.
My saving grace was Phase One Records.
Phase One was a small independent record store that not only took plenty of my pocket money, including the ‘extremely cool’ purchase of Paul Oakenfold’s Big Brother theme, but helped transform those wasted hours into a time of (often-dubious but always joyful) musical discovery.
Huw from Wrexham
The pub serving more than just pints
When I moved into my flat in Dalston, North London, I hadn’t given a second thought to the fact that it was a Bank Holiday Monday, and none of the local shops were open.
So, off I went, oblivious to this in the hunt for milk, bread, chocolate…you know, the basics to get you started in your new home.
After half an hour of wandering the streets of Dalston and seeing the shutters down on every shop I passed, I gave up and headed home empty-handed.
On my way back, I thought I’d drown my sorrows with a glass of Malbec in my new local pub, The Railway Tavern.
So, I ordered my drink and got chatting to the friendly barman, and told him that I’d just moved in across the road, and about my failed expedition to find milk. We carried on chatting about the local area, about the pub and how long he’d lived and worked there.
He then disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a carton of milk for me.
Of course, I offered to pay him but he wasn’t having any of it. I was taken aback by this very kind gesture and was very grateful to him for helping me in my hour of need.
Now every time I walk past The Railway Tavern and I see him I stop and have a chat.
That’s the beauty of small businesses.
Sarah from Surrey
The local newsagent providing sanctuary
I think just a small act of kindness from a business can have a big impact.
When I was growing up I was being picked on by some of the older kids and the local paper shop lady let me sit behind the shop desk and wait for them to go away.
She’d let me pick out some penny sweets and read magazines and gave me a safe haven. She never asked me about them, it was like an unspoken agreement.
As I grew up, she gave me my first job doing a paper round which helped me build my confidence.
I don’t know if I ever really thanked her but she made a tough time much more bearable and gave me somewhere safe to go when I was scared.
Katherine from Bristol
The local plumber averting disaster
After moving into our new house we made a point of using local tradespeople to help do it up and thank goodness we did!
When we returned from a 3 week holiday in Australia to find our boiler had stopped working we rang our local plumber who not only fixed the problem within 24 hours but lent us a couple of heaters to keep me and my 6 month old warm as well.
I’m not sure you’d get that from one of the big companies and it’s nice to be supporting a local family run business!
Sally from Edinburgh
The go-to family photographer
Whilst in the process of organising my wedding, I was also in the middle of moving from Norwich to Chelmsford.
With our wedding taking place in Chelmsford, a city I really didn’t know and had no contacts in, I was reliant on social media to help me find a wedding photographer.
After making a number of enquiries I was put in touch with Anita of AD-Photographic, an independent photographer. We gelled instantly and she completely understood the sort of casual, relaxed photographs we wanted to get for our special day.
We loved the photo’s so much that Anita has since taken many other special occasion photos for us as a family, helping us to capture those many happy moments forever.
Helen from Norwich