On the way to work today I passed a ball field that is on the campus of a school. I pass this field every day on the way to work and I see the banners that festoon the fence in the outfield. But today, somehow, they meant more to me than before.

Why? What made this shift?

Today, for the first time I noticed that every banner was from a small, local business. No big brands, no on-line merchants, no international corporations. Not even the local utilities who support the community. Just local small businesses.

Now to be certain many of the banners represent businesses that are owned by parents of the children who attend the school. Some are owned by former students, and some are owned by the employers of parents of the children who attend. There are many ties that bind that result in a business that supports a school athletic program.

But not a one of those ties is the best price on products and services. Not to say they don’t have the best price for their products and services, just to say that’s not a tie that results in a business being asked to support a local school athletic program.

Yet that is the very thing that will result in a purchase for many who attend or pass the school each day. And if not the lowest price, our thoughts are certainly of the largest inventory and best service. It’s almost natural to thing “big” when buying.

I can tell you from experience, the big companies both on-line and brick and mortar don’t support small-scale needs like a local school athletic program. They can’t. It’s a matter of scale. If they supported every local school financially, they’d have to raise prices, cut inventory, or reduce staff. Doing so would defeat their unique position in the marketplace.

And that is why your local school, sports association, scout troop, charitable organization, and other groups turn to local small businesses for support. They convince themselves they’re helping these businesses promote their business. Sometimes that’s true. But more often than not the local small business is giving far more than they’ll ever get.

Small, local businesses advertise (actually, it should be sponsor) local sports, associations, charities, and local print publications in large part for a very different reason and in very different ways than large, impersonal businesses do. While large business advertising focuses on omnipresence to keep them top of mind, the local small business does so to keep them close to the heart.

The heart they’re staying close to is the heart of a thing called community. And you can’t have a community without local small businesses who make it so. They’re the people who you see at the ballfield and at church, in the local restaurant, and on the local charity board. They’re what make our communities.

This is National Small Business Week in the United States. A time to recognize the role small businesses play in our country. Two out of three new jobs will be created by small businesses.

I’d argue every week should be small business week. But just for this week, I’d ask you join in thanking a local small business for what they do with your patronage, recognition, and vocal appreciation.

Local Small Business Matters.

If you’re a local small business join the movement: #GrowMyLocalBusiness