Just over one year ago, COVID-19 rocked the foundations of communities spanning the globe. No touchpoint in our lives has remained unaltered, and those changes have continued to evolve nearly daily ever since. No group has been more impacted by the ever-changing health and safety regulations than American small business owners who have pivoted and adapted to overcome hurdles scattered across the economic landscape.
Mom and Pop Business Owners Build Communities with Soul
The past 12 months have reinforced Sekure’s commitment to American small business owners who have inspired us with their perseverance, their strength, and their humanity. Throughout these difficult and often terrifying times, the small business owners we have the privilege of working with have shown us why Mom and Pop business owners are the backbone of America.
My 13 year old son reflected on the last year last night and said that it taught him to “take nothing for granted” because the things we think of as commonplace are not guaranteed. Thinking back on the past year, what my family has missed most has been the simple pleasure of going for breakfast at our local diner and stopping into the shops on leisurely weekend walks through our neighborhood. We miss the interactions with small business owners who know our names, who ask after family members, and point out the items that they know we’d like because they thought of us when they came in. We miss the sense of normalcy and pleasure of being greeted by the owner of a favorite local haunt and catching up on the neighborhood goings on while we browse and buy a new trinket or gift that will be treasured by its recipient.
One thing I have taken for granted is the sense of community that these small businesses nurture. Before the pandemic closed businesses, I would take no small pleasure in watching the community dynamic play out in the small businesses I frequent. There is a small comic book store down the street from me, and I have spent so much time in there that I am on a first name basis with the store’s three co-owners. So often, I would walk into one or all of these individuals patiently teaching a group of children how to estimate totals so they could know how many comics they could buy with the money they’d saved and brought with them. The other customers and I often pitched in a quarter here and there to help the children who hadn’t factored in sales tax and smile, wrapped in reminiscence, recalling times when as children we had similar encounters.
My experience is not unique. Stories of small business owners going above and beyond to take care of the communities they operate in go viral on a daily basis. For every story that goes viral, there are countless others that will never make headlines. When we say that small businesses are the backbone of America, this is what I think of. What sets Mom and Pop shop businesses apart is that their owners care about more than just what is in a customer’s wallet.
The Devil is in the Details
The pandemic didn’t halt our ability to purchase the items my family needed, but what we discovered was that it’s not the items we wanted. Rather, it was the familiar comfort of securing those items from people who welcomed us like friends we’ve not seen in some time. Even early on in the lockdown, I was frustrated with the selections and service from online giants and big box stores that prize convenience over community and began reaching out to the small stores I frequented in person.
I discovered that those personal touches and familiarity I take so much pleasure in translated in surprising and delightful ways when I bought from Mom and Pop shops online. When the weather warmed up last spring and lockdown had everyone in my house climbing the walls, I decided that evening walks would restore a little of my sanity. Before I could begin taking those sanity preserving strolls, I needed to replace my running shoes and quickly discovered that what I wanted could not be found from the big stores.
Instead, I found them just down the road at a small mom and pop that was closed due to the pandemic. My email to the store was promptly responded to by the owner who, after directing me to where I could pay, hand delivered my shoes that afternoon. In the box was a handwritten card thanking me for my business. That store acquired a devoted customer for life that day, and subsequent experiences with the store were repeats of the first superlative experience.
It is these small, human touches that set small businesses apart from their large competitors. Especially in times like these when we are necessarily distanced from our neighbors and loved ones, these little details become vital connections to the world outside of Zoom meetings and texts.
Sekure’s Commitment to Mom and Pop Business Owners
Sekure is unique in that we value the opportunity to speak with merchants on the phone. This gives us an opportunity to develop real and meaningful relationships with the small business owners who trust us with their payment processing. Being able to talk to them in this way allows us to get to know about the people behind the business.
The Customer Service team at Sekure share stories every day about merchants they have talked to who take an active interest in the person they are speaking to. From asking after family to recommending cold remedies passed down from their grandmother, these incredible individuals show our team at Sekure the care we know they give to their communities.
Every day, our team shares experiences about the merchants they have helped and the touching, heart-felt conversations they’ve had throughout the day. These stories fuel our commitment and dedication to the merchants we support, and inspire us to model the work ethic, compassion, and spirit that they possess. We understand on a personal level that small businesses are integral to the fabric of America. If Mom and Pop shops are the backbone of America, their owners are its heart and soul. Let us never forget that or take it for granted.
Tell Us Your Story
Sekure wants to remind everyone what an important place Mom and Pop Shops hold in America. To do this, we are collecting stories from business owners, customers, and our team to share on social media and our website. Tell us yours and help us remind America to not take these vital businesses for granted.