Let’s get down to business — small business, that is. Whether you’re filling a prescription or dropping off a bag of dry cleaning, chances are, you have the option to support local small businesses. And, quite frankly, shopping local is an option you should always consider.

A sense of community is built upon a foundation of familiarity and a feeling of belongingness. When you support your neighborhood stores, you’re not only building relationships, you’re creating community cohesiveness.

In a world constantly being consumed by corporations and big business, it’s more important than ever to recognize that small business is an absolute integral part of any community.

As a small business owner myself, we are constantly looking for ways to thank our customers for their support and loyalty. We firmly believe building positive business karma by giving back to local schools and community groups — whether it’s visiting neighborhood schools for animal presentations or donating goods to local groups and rescues.

According to a study by the Small Business Administration, small businesses donate more than twice as much to local non-profits, events, and teams, as compared to big businesses.

Shopping local almost always ensures you will get top-notch customer service. You will get a staff who is passionate, knowledgeable, and vested in the business, as well as the community.

We hire and train people who are compassionate and educated on our products and the basic welfare of animals. Generally speaking, many large corporate stores just plug people in to fill their employment voids.

One common misconception is that prices will always be higher when it comes to small business shopping. This is definitely not the case. We have a lot of customers walk through our doors who are not only pleasantly surprised by our huge selection, but also by our competitive prices.

We’re able to offer prices comparable to the big box stores based on us having developed close relationships with local manufacturers and distributors. Through negotiating our costs, we are able to extend those savings on to our customers.

Also, unlike our larger competitors, we don’t have out-of-state corporate offices to support. In fact, 80 percent of dollars spent locally stay local, which is absolutely necessary for an economy to flourish.

While you’re supporting local small businesses, it’s likely they’re doing the same, as locally-owned stores are also more likely to be customers of and support other local businesses, like accountants, wholesalers, attorneys, printers, and advertisers.

Another reason to shop local is that product selection will more than likely be greater. We purchase directly from a variety of local vendors, and hand-select products based our customer’s needs, creating a much broader range of product choices.

It’s important to recognize that while you’re supporting your local businesses, those local businesses are working for you. The things they’re doing, the decisions they’re making are always for the betterment of the community.