Passion and Prosperity – the Story of Small Business

apparel1Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing.

All the corner shops in our town, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. In most cases, these enterprises were born because their owners are passionate. They’re passionate about cutting hair or cooking food, and that is why they opened their business…not because they have an MBA.

Engage one of these small business owners in conversation, and you’ll quickly find out that they are not only passionate about what they do, but they are passionate about their community and the role their business plays in strengthening our local economy, adding to our sense of unique place, and in giving back.

Passion definitely led Clare Isquith, Global Adventures in Travel, to her business. She never let the tectonic shift in the travel industry get in her way. Clare says she won’t recommend what she doesn’t know. For her, it isn’t about what destination some distant headquarters is pushing this month, or quotas, but only about giving her clients the experience of their life. When you are dependent on word-of-mouth for new clients, your personal reputation is everything. Clare’s success is founded in the passion she shares with her customers.

Small businesses are often part of family history, they are handed down generation to generation.

chapel-photo-2awTudy Longmire and her sister opened Sedona Fudge Company and a couple other businesses, desiring flexibility and income. Now, Tudy’s niece is making candied apples, learning sourcing and burning the midnight oil. They see the Fudge Company’s role on Main Street, their passion for their community and their sense of family pride as inseparable.

A passion for community is also in Kyle Jablow’s DNA, his parent being his role models. Total Tech Team, Kyle’s business, is the result of his passion for technology and bringing the benefits of technology to his customers and community. He credits the networking and relationships he’s built in our small town, especially through the Chamber, with his success. Afterall, small businesses are one of the best ways to retain local talent and to elevate the depth and diversity of a community’s resources and capacity.

Tina Nelson, Sedona Elite Properties Management, isn’t just a small business owner, she’s a job creator. Half of the people who work in this country work for small businesses, and two out of every three net new jobs come from small business. Having expanded from cleaning, advertising and renting homes by herself, to her current staff of 8 and over 30 vendors, Tina is passionate about the trust these people have placed in her for providing their livelihood. Her small business is a critical part of the engine for our economy.

Eric Moore, owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, is a life-long bird-watcher. When he quit his full-time job and opened a tiny store, he wondered how he could differentiate his store from all the other places that sell bird seed? Then, he discovered, that what makes his special is that it’s a knowledge-based business. Customers craved information and Eric and his staff could provide it. Their personalized assistance is a match to their client’s passion. Local decision-making led Jay’s Bird Barn to hire disabled adults to mix and bag their custom bird blends.

cellying_redrocks-2Jill Galea, owner of Sedona’s New Day Spa, sees her business as giving clients the gift of pleasure and rejuvenation. But beyond that, Jill’s social contract with her community is to give back whenever possible. It’s a fact that small businesses give far more to charity than large businesses, and the decision to give is made locally, requiring no corporate process.

Again, small businesses don’t just happen. And, their personal and community passion can’t be calculated on a profit and loss statement.

There are so many wonderful, caring and passionate small businesses in Sedona. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many of them and wish I could mention them ALL in this column. The flavor they add to our community, what they give to our citizens, visitors and non-profits, what they contribute in jobs, taxes and economic impact that affects daily lives, is irreplaceable by any out of town corporate entity.

So, the next time you have the choice between an online purchase vs. visiting a local small business, consider adding some passion in your life and Shop Locally.

–Kegn Moorcroft, Director of Communications