Imagine. A community without a thriving network of small businesses: everything from mom-and-pops to young entrepreneurs testing the water with their dreams. A community with empty storefronts lacking like-minded small business owners supporting the efforts of their community through events and fundraising. To me, it’s not a pleasant thought.
Main street. That’s how I grew up. A small town with a main street populated with all locally owned small businesses. I worked at a small boutique called the Golden Carriage-located in an old historic bank building. Our lingerie section was the old bank vault. Cocoa Village reminds me very much of this idyllic, quaint, collection of unique small businesses. Lots of historic buildings, restaurants, pubs, and many distinctive businesses. We boast a renovated Historic Playhouse that provides community theatre which rivals many of the big city counterparts. Our Riverfront Park hosts events all throughout the year and is a facility for all of the community to come and enjoy.
I am not referencing small business as defined by the SBA, as 500 or fewer employees, these are small mom-and-pops that operate (some of them) as a one-man-band. Or a woman in our case as a majority of the businesses are owned and run by women. Collectively, these businesses contribute to the vibe of our Village. It’s a great gathering place for our locals and a popular tourist destination as well. A recent article in the Boston Globe that was written by an accidental tourist pretty much sums it up. https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2019/09/03/discovering-charms-historic-cocoa-village-florida/MavlPP3s2s7bQSHnlC48BO/story.html
From my involvement with the local organization that represents the business owners in the Village, I can tell you that these are dedicated, hardworking folks that put their heart and soul into making the Village an environment where businesses can establish and flourish. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in preparing for, sponsoring, and executing events-such as our popular Sip-and-Strolls. None of this happens by magic, it’s hard work and a love for the Village-and it’s pretty much all volunteer-based. Chew on that one.
Besides being a cool place to hang out, to eat, to shop, attend the theatre and events in the park, we as a group contribute to our community in a number of ways:
We support local organizations through charitable fundraisers and donations. Think the annual school fundraiser where your child goes to school, the sheriff and police department fundraisers, the Humane Society fundraisers, and let me tell you... the list goes on.
We create jobs.
We pay taxes. Local taxes. And when you shop at small businesses within your community, more dollars stay right here within that community.
We offer unique, often locally made products that are not often found elsewhere.
It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retail is a tough gig. When we have to compete with the behemoths the likes of Amazon, we struggle. Don’t get me wrong, I shop online as well if I can’t find it locally, but I always look within my community first to support other local businesses.
With the holidays approaching, it’s important to remember that shopping local is key to keeping these vital components of our communities thriving.