Desire To Support Local Businesses Drives Arizona Consumers To Shop Small

A desire to support local businesses and an appreciation for greater customer service is driving Arizona consumers to shop small, a recently released survey found.

The findings, from the 2017 Cox Consumer Pulse on Small Business survey, were made public as National Small Business Week prepares to come to a close Saturday.

Tucson is home to more than 15,000 small businesses that employ fewer than 500 people, according to U.S. Census data. Of those, more than 13,000 have fewer than 20 employees.

National Small Business Week recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Cox survey seeks to explore support for shopping small and identify factors that could increase that support.

More than a quarter of Arizonans surveyed reported patronizing small businesses twice a week, citing local support and convenience as the top reasons for shopping small, followed by greater customer service and familiarity with owners and employees.

Small businesses that support positive social or environmental causes were also found to be appealing to Arizona consumers, with 65 percent saying they would spend more money at those establishments. Nearly just as many felt that small businesses should openly promote the causes they support.

One business that has taken that approach is Laura Tanzer’s boutique, which opened in November 2015 at 410 N. Toole Ave.

Tanzer makes custom clothing for clients and sells her designs, which she describes as “modern, architectural and luxurious,” at her downtown retail shop.

Tanzer’s interest in environmental sustainability brought her to Tucson in 1999 to attend the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Today, Tanzer, who also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, hosts a free sustainable living forum on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

She brings in speakers to talk about topics that include clean air, waste water, composting and gardening.

In-person events were identified as effective forms of communication for small businesses to improve customer engagement, second only to email, the Cox survey found.

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