Keeping it local: Businesses eagerly open doors for shoppers in downtown Lee’s Summit

·2 min read

Shoppers gathered Saturday in downtown Lee’s Summit for a day of socializing and shopping at small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide movement to shop and support locally owned businesses. About 35 businesses in downtown Lee’s Summit participated, and many offered deals. Shoppers with scratcher tickets had the opportunity to win a $20 downtown gift card.

Shara Derks, the owner of Embers Candle Bar, appreciates Small Business Sunday because it draws customers to her store, while fostering community spirit and conversation.

“The great thing about Kansas City is that most people like things that are local, unique and creative,” Derks said. “I feel like it’s just part of being in the heartland. We have a layer of city pride here that I haven’t experienced in any other city that I’ve lived in, which makes our city great.”

The community support during this time, especially at the start of the holiday season, benefits small businesses and cultivates friendly interactions among community members, Derks said.

“We get to celebrate small businesses regularly in Lee’s Summit, but we’re always very excited about it,” Derks said. “The event is about connecting with people locally, supporting the community and creating one-of-a-kind memories.”

Shoppers enjoy the event as well, not only because they receive deals from the businesses, but because they get to support the people and places they love.

Lee’s Summit resident Leah Connelly established a yearly shopping tradition with her mom and daughter while getting a jump-start on holiday shopping.

“Creating memories with my mom and daughter is extra special when we get to support the businesses in our community,” Connelly said. “I want to make sure my daughter knows the importance of shopping locally and having human connection.”

Kelly Lankford, owner of INSPO, A Modern Decor Store, likes to see people get away from online shopping when possible.

“It’s awesome to have everyone come out to see and touch the products,” Lankford said. “I enjoy being able to see people and help them find what they need.”

There are many ways to support small businesses, Lankford said. A few examples: give a positive online review, donate to establishments that are fundraising and post on social media, Lankford said.

“If we don’t shop local, local shops will disappear.”

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