We heart Suffolk business

Published 5:24 pm Saturday, February 6, 2016

Do you love Suffolk businesses?

You should. According to Independent We Stand, a consortium of locally owned small businesses that lobbies for folks to shop small and shop local, independent businesses around the nation make a huge difference in their communities.

Want some stats? Try these on for size. Small businesses employ 77 million Americans. Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than do their chain competitors; for independent restaurants, the ratio is still high: two to one. For every square foot a locally owned business uses, its community’s economy earns $179, versus just $105 for a chain store.

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And then there’s the personal side of things. Locally owned businesses are run by your neighbors and friends. They employ your aunts and uncles, your nephews and nieces, your kids’ teachers’ husbands and wives. And the taxes they pay help fund your kids’ schools.

This week, while you’re shopping for something to show your own wife or husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, how much you love them, you can also show Suffolk’s independent businesses a little love, too, and you can have a chance to benefit yourself in the process.

For the second year in a row, the Suffolk News-Herald is partnering with the Suffolk Department of Economic Development to promote the city’s independent businesses in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

The promotion, #iheartSuffolkbiz, is pretty simple, and it gives folks a chance to give a thumbs-up to their favorite Suffolk retailers and restaurants, while entering a drawing to win one of five $100 gift cards. And your friends on Facebook will get a kick out of the whole thing, too.

Here’s what you need to do: Visit any independently owned business in Suffolk between Feb. 7 and midnight on Valentine’s Day; post a photo of yourself or your Valentine with your gift on the Suffolk News-Herald’s Facebook page, making sure to include the hashtag #iheartSuffolkbiz and the business’s name; and then wait for the winners to be announced in the Feb. 16 edition of this paper.

There is a limit of one entry per person (18 or older), per business, but you can (and should!) visit and enter from as many businesses as you like to increase your chances of winning. No purchase is required, but we’re sure you’ll find something you want to buy your sweetie along the way.

Five lucky winners will be randomly selected on Feb. 15 from those photos that have appeared on our Facebook page during the previous week. They’ll be named in a story on Feb. 16, and they’ll also be notified via Facebook.

We know you love Suffolk businesses as much as we do. This week, you can show them just how much you do.