National Small Business Week is a time to celebrate entrepreneurs and small business owners all across the country. Today, Arizona is home to more than 550,000 small businesses, employing an estimated one million workers. As a small business owner myself, I recognize the value in supporting small businesses and encourage Arizonans to make an effort to shop small this week and beyond.
I started my business back in 2003 as I was looking for great food gifts inspired by Arizona. At the time, it felt like all Arizona food gifts were either cactus or scorpion related. That’s why, in an effort to highlight some of the best local products our state has to offer, I built d’Vine Gourmet. For nearly two decades, we’ve created delicious candies, sweets, snacks and pantry items in our retail kitchen. We carry items from dozens of other local Arizona vendors, along with art, merchandise, and custom gift baskets. Our local community has always been the inspiration for our growth, just as it was in our founding, and has been the impetus for our new expansion to historic downtown Chandler this fall.
Like every small business, vying for consumer attention is an everyday challenge. Many locally owned businesses cannot price match against the giants, nor can we meet the delivery expectations that have become the new norm. Arizonans that make the extra effort to shop local are thrilled with the care and passion that our small business community has become known for.
In fact, in the new “digital” economy spurred by COVID-19, it’s become just as easy to shop locally if you know where to look. I’ve been inspired by the innovation I’ve seen from Arizona small business owners in implementing online options that complement their brick-and-mortar locations. Our online sales platform, for example, allowed us to stay busy throughout the lockdowns and confusion of the pandemic. We revamped our website and continued to engage on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
By launching a virtual storefront through Facebook Shops, for example, we were able to increase our presence in the community and support our digital sales. Sharing pictures, stories, contests, and Instagram reels have also helped engage our customers and grow our outreach. Many of our customers tell us they found us on Facebook, which is why I encourage Arizonans that can’t make it into local stores to take an extra look online and on social media. We hope that with our new expansion, we can continue to meet the needs of our growing community, both locally and virtually.
The success of small businesses in our state is our collective responsibility. They bring culture, community and a sense of belonging, not to mention their importance in our local economies. Please consider taking a second look at Arizona’s vibrant small business community, online or in-person, this National Small Business week and beyond.
Editor’s note: Denise McCreery is the owner of Chandler-based d’Vine Gourmet.