Shop local, shop small this holiday season

The VIEW from here



Over the past year, we’ve seen several new businesses open in Flint and Genesee County. LaTresha Rená Salon and Spa recently celebrated its grand opening in Flint Township. Mimi’s Cuban Bakery & Café has been serving up authentic Cuban cuisine in Flint since October. And on the retail side, Grand Blanc Vendor Marketplace, Jupiter Skateboarding in Linden and The Moon Market in Swartz Creek are just some of our county’s newest offerings.

There’s something exciting about the opening of a new business. For one, it’s a new opportunity – a new place to eat good food, buy unusual trinkets, update your haircut. It also represents an investment in Genesee County and its growth. It further develops our community persona and provides yet another reason for someone to visit.

If we want to see businesses like this continue to open – and more importantly, to stay open – we need to choose them like they chose Flint & Genesee. It’s one thing to be excited about seeing a new storefront open in your neighborhood; it’s another to make a point to buy your goods and services there. So, this holiday season, at a time when it can be tempting to shop the deals on Amazon and other big box websites, I challenge you to support small, local businesses instead.

To jumpstart shopping, several area businesses and organizations will host events and promotions on Nov. 27 as part of Small Business Saturday, to celebrate small businesses and all they do for their communities. For example, I’m Building Something Consulting will bring together more than 50 businesses for Flint Small Business Saturday at Word of Life Church from noon to 5 p.m. (460 W. Atherton Road, Flint). The first 50 shoppers to patronize eight or more of the vendors will receive a box filled with various goodies from local entrepreneurs.

Likewise, more than 20 crafters and artisans will sell their goods during the Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market, which will be held at the Flint Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (300 E. 1st St., Flint). General admission is $1, and early-bird admission is $5 for those who would like to start shopping at 9 a.m. Additionally, our friends at Metro Community Development and the City of Flint are coordinating an effort that will include a scavenger hunt and shopping passport involving businesses in downtown Flint (

The festivities aren’t limited to just this Saturday, however. On Monday, the Flint & Genesee Chamber, a division of Flint & Genesee Group, will be announcing a campaign involving more than 20 restaurants in Genesee County at Our goal is to spark spending at local businesses and get people thinking about why that matters. After all, when we support small businesses, we support the people they employ, the causes they champion and the investment and character they bring to our communities.

Tim Herman is the CEO of Flint & Genesee Group.