Shopping small in the community
By Sharadyn Janssen
While it may not always be the most convenient option, supporting the community by shopping small creates a lasting impact.
Quincy has a variety of different local businesses for consumer pleasure. Whether you want to grab a bite to eat at Thyme Square Bakery & Cafe, find a new outfit at The Find Boutique, or try some popcorn from Popp’n On Maine, Quincy has you covered.
According to the SBA, there are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, which makes up 99.7% of all US businesses.
Most of the business owners tend to reside in the community in which they provide their services, and often grow to have personal relationships with their customers.
“We have a really good community around here and we get relationships with all of our customers… Our workers have been great in creating those relationships,” Ciara Weese, owner of Carter’s Coffee Bar, said.
Carter’s is Quincy’s first coffee stand, and it opened on May 1, 2020. They provide coffee, energy drinks, smoothies, and a variety of other sweet treats.
“Seeing one of my regular customers walk through the door never fails to brighten my day. It doesn’t feel like I’m only selling them clothes. It feels more like we are just catching up and building a friendship,” Mia Kurfman, worker at Jeni’s Boutique, said.
Jeni’s Boutique is a women’s clothing store in downtown Quincy that also sells accessories and shoes.
The money that small business owners make often gets put back into the community in one way or another.
“By running a local business, we are able to support all the Quincy schools and their sports teams. We are also able to donate to local causes and support the organizations that are so important to the foundation of the place where we all live,” Craig Hilbing, owner of Hilbing Autobody, said.
Hilbing Autobody specializes in providing automotive and collision repair service. Hilbing Autobody has been a family owned and operated business for more than 60 years.
“One of our main goals for starting Carter’s was to give back to the community. We like to, every month, give back to a certain foundation. Recently we gave back to the Be Like Grace and did a whole fundraiser for Grace Schell’s scholarship foundation. We made a special drink and then we gave all the proceeds to the Grace Schell community,” Weese said.
COVID-19 has created new challenges, but also new opportunities, for small businesses.
“The virus has definitely been a struggle. Getting the things we need to perform our service has been more difficult, as well as trying to protect our employees and customers,” Hilbing said.
“Honestly, COVID has impacted us in a positive way,” Weese said. “We opened during the prime time of COVID and people had nothing better to do so they could wait in a two hour line to get coffee.”
Hilbing Autobody, Carter’s Coffee Bar, and Jeni’s Boutique have been able to navigate these challenges and continue their business without being shut down.