Los Al businessman says: shop locally

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Earick Ward owns Play It Again Sports in Los Alamitos and is a Seal Beach resident.

As a small-businessperson in town, and also a local  resident, I’d like to provide a few reasons we should try to shop locally when we can.

Entrepreneurial Passion

Many people who  open and run a small business do so because they have a passion for what it  is they’re doing.  Whether it’s sports, clothes, pets, hair, antiques,  art, cooking, or whatever.  This passion translates directly to quality  of customer service.

If you go into any store and the owner is  passionate about their products, or services, then they are very likely  going to be enthusiastic about your interest in their products and services  as well.

The entrepreneurial aspect of that passion translates into  the enormous hurdle that business owners go through to open and operate  their business enterprises.

Local Employment

Local  business means local employment.  While most small businesses don’t pay  particularly high wages, they do offer work experience for first time  workers, as well as opportunities for those looking to earn extra income.   My business has been blessed to have hired many young people who have  learned valuable work lessons in inventory management, stocking and  receiving, marketing and merchandising, tendering transactions and customer  service.  Some past employees have moved on to college and/or their  eventual careers.  It is my hope that 5, 10, 15 years from now, they  will be working in their careers and will do something that will cause them  to think; “Hey, I learned that at Play It Again Sports!”

Taxes

Small businesses generate a  certain amount of sales-tax revenue that goes directly back into the  community in which they operate their business.  Therefore, some of the  money that you spend in town, comes back into town in the form of revenue to  the city/county coffers.

Donations

Most small  businesses in town have owners that live locally as well.  Their kids  attend the local schools, and participate in many of the sports, art and  recreational programs that are part of our schools and park systems.   Most local businesses actively contribute to various athletic, social  and recreational programs in town, as more and more of  these programs are getting their state funding cut.  It is not uncommon  for a small business to donate money, or product to a raffle, a booster  club, sponsorships, faires, causes, churches, the Taste of Los Al, or in  some cases all of the above.

Pay It Forward

As  a resident and small businessperson, a lot of my income goes directly back  into the community as well, because my family and I shop at the stores  and restaurants right here in town.  Whether it’s; Nick’s, or Paul’s  Place, Beachwood BBQ, El Burrito, O’Malley’s, Walt’s  Wharf, Koi Sushi, Coach’s Sports Grill, Harbour Surfboards, Swiss Dot,  Endless Summer, Denim Bar, or LaunderPet, etc.  It is comforting to  have many of these small business owners shop my business as  well.

Owning and operating a small business is difficult,  particularly in these tough economic times. You have a choice of where to  shop.  When you can, shop local.

Earick Ward owns Play It Again Sports in Los Alamitos and is a Seal Beach resident.