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Small businesses can make a big impression

What makes small businesses special?

When I think of this question, I immediately think of another question to ask. What made you like the small towns you have visited?

Small businesses are the heart of small towns. They are some of the ones who bring the community together and create a safe family feeling. As a small business owner, I see the impact we can have on a community. We are some of the first people that visitors meet and it is up to us to give them a good impression of our town. If they are given a good impression, they will go back to their home town and talk about their experience, which in turn, causes more people to come find us. We become a destination on the map.

Small business owners make most of their items by hand and therefore they can create a uniqueness that big corporations cannot. Customers become friends and a safe, family-friendly atmosphere is created.

There is something about walking into a small business where the person working knows your name and your order. Its in moments like this, that you know you matter as a person and not a dollar sign.

Not only do small businesses bring life to an area and take away the emptiness of a town; they also work together to put on small events and pitch in to help on the big events too. For instance, the small businesses in downtown Lewistown do something special the First Friday of every month.

First Friday is a family-friendly event focusing around art, music and food. Some of the businesses involved in First Friday include East End Coffee, Lewistown Printworks, Hometown Potter’s Studio, The Square Cafe and Bakery and The Crooked Shelf Bookshop. First Friday is becoming a night were a lot of families and young friends look forward to participating in. They no longer have to drive more than 30 minutes to do something fun, but can go 10 minutes from their home and participate in so many different activities at a low cost.

The Festival of Ice and the Liberty Fest are put on by several different organizations, however the small businesses are open during these events as a way to help draw people in and show them the life that is still in the town.

When you shop amongst independent local businesses you keep more money in community, you support local jobs, you encourage the community, you invest in entrepreneurship, you make your community a destination, you believe in someone’s dreams. As a reminder to myself and all those around you this holiday season, shop local.

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Kayla Zook was raised in Belleville. She opened Square Cafe and Bakery in downtown Lewistown in 2017, just seven months after the deli she worked for at the same location closed unexpectedly. She developed a love of cooking and baking at a young age.