NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP) – A new survey suggests that millennials are a driving force behind the country’s small business movement. On this National Small Business Week, 22News visited some of the many small shops in Northampton.
Handcrafted, handloom, handmade interior design home decor and gifts. Cigdem Tukomer runs LeBon Ton in Northampton. She prides herself on finding unique handcrafted items, created mostly by women.
“This area, New England, it’s perfect it’s very supportive. They understand and they give validation and appreciation. And it makes you feel very happy,” said Cigdem Tukomer.
Up the street and around the corner, Jason Martin and his partner Geof Spear operate Northampton Olive Oil Company.
In an Amazon age, Jason said he thinks customers like knowing who they’re doing business with.
“I give my money to this business, maybe they come to my business someday,” said Martin. “If not maybe they give their money locally to a different business. And maybe they come to my business. Or your business.”
A new survey by Vistaprint, an online provider of marketing products for small businesses, said millennials are seeking out small, local shops. In fact, their poll revealed that nearly half of millennials, 45 percent, would spend more on a product or service if it meant supporting a small business.
“I think it makes a lot of sense,” Martin continued. “I’ve heard on TV that millennials lack loyalty. I just think it’s garbage.”
Millennial Elissa Dingman would likely agree. She lives in South Hadley but loves to shop local in Northampton.
“Yeah, you definitely sit there and have a conversation with them,” said Dingman. “I think you definitely build relationships with people in small businesses more so than in big companies I would say.”
The survey also found that being online is important. It said 84 percent of millennial consumers think small businesses need a website and be active on social media.