Editor's Note: This is a longer version of the story that ran in print.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 to motivate holiday shopping at small businesses during the great recession. Now in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday occurred Nov. 28. Local business owners shared what shopping local means to them, why they love being a business owner and why it’s important to keep small businesses thriving,

John Popp, Owner of Popp Hardware, Lidgerwood

Q: Tell me a bit about your business?

A: “We’re a hardware store and we’ve been in business for 70 years on main street here. We have a pretty good lineup of equipment and merchandise to sell, I think it’s one of the best lineups … it’s stocked well.”

Q: What do you enjoy about being a small business owner?

A: “I like being an owner. I have excellent employees. What more could a guy ask? And I’ve got good customers.”

Q: What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

A: “Well, I wish more people would participate in it. If we had everyone in town doing this instead of just two it would probably be more fun ... People should understand if you want a small business in town here you’ve got to support it or it won’t be here for 70 years."

Q: Why is it important to keep small businesses alive?

A: “You lose key things in your town, like we lost our grocery store, but we’re getting it back. Those things are important, as a group you bring people to town.”

Q: Do you have any advice for prospective business owners?

A: “Yeah, I do. Run it yourself, be there when you’re working. You can’t spend your days upstairs in an office and expect people to appreciate you. So run it yourself, get good employees you can trust so you can walk out the front door and say, ‘I’ll see you in a week’ …”

Jan Breker, Owner of Lidgerwood Lumber, Lidgerwood

Q: Tell me a bit about your business?

A: “We sell lumber and building materials.”

Q: What do you enjoy about being a small business owner?

A: “Meeting the people, the interactions.”

Q: What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

A: “I think it’s really great that they recognize that there's a lot of small businesses out there so I really appreciate that and that it’s put out on the forefront for people to think about.”

Q: Why is it important to keep small businesses alive?

A: “Well, otherwise our small towns would probably shut down completely because in the small towns essentially it’s all small businesses. Even Wahp and Breck, that I always call big, most all those are small businesses, too. They’re all individually owned, most of them, it’s very, very important to shop at home to help support your own town and keep it from falling apart.”

Q: Do you have any advice for prospective business owners?

A: “They can’t go in thinking that after a year they can get out. They have to give it at least a full five years before they say, ‘okay, I’m done with it,’ because the first few years there usually isn’t any income, it’s mostly expenses. It takes a while for it to come around and that’s the hardest part.”

Sara Krump, Owner of Vintage Rose Floral and Gift, Hankinson

Q: Tell me a bit about your business?

A: “We do floral arranging. We specialize in funerals and weddings and any special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, things like that. I love my green plants, but always have beautiful, fresh cut flowers on hand.”

Q: What do you enjoy about being a small business owner?

A: “I love it. I get to do what I love, be creative and put smiles on faces. I started out in the business as a delivery girl. That was my first introduction into the floral industry and I still love it.”

Q: What does small business Saturday mean to you?

A: “Shopping local is so important right now. Even before the pandemic, small mom and pop shops were slowly dwindling away because you’ve got these large businesses who can cut prices, buy in bulk. They don’t have the love of the business, it’s just business. When you shop local you have local owners who love and care about their customers and it shows. So shopping locally is really important to me.”

Q: Why is it important to keep small businesses alive?

A: “When you lose your small businesses, they’re like the heart and soul of your community. We have people who come in from out of state even, and they look for shops like this ... When you lose your small businesses in a community, the community kind of just goes away. You need to have that foundation in a community.

Q: Do you have any advice for prospective business owners?

A: “Reach out, be a part of the business community. There’s people who want to help. Ask questions, definitely reach out to other businesses in the community and ask for help, get advice. I had no background [in business] when I bought this place, it’s quite a bit of a learning curve, but we have such an awesome community they made it much easier.”

Julie Falk, Hankinson Drug and Julie’s Pharmacy

Q: Tell me a bit about your business?

A: “We’re a pharmacy, we do a full line of over-the-counter medications along with a full line of giftware which includes cards, kitchen, clothing, jewelry, candles, lots of home decore items.”

Q: What do you enjoy about being a small business owner?

A: “I enjoy working with people, I love serving the community, I love being a part of a small town community because it’s like home. Things of that nature.”

Q: What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

A: “I like that people spend the time to come and shop small and see what we have to offer. A lot of people walk through the doors and are like, ‘wow, I didn’t even know this was here.’ We get people traveling to come and shop small. I thought it was a great idea when it started a few years ago, it introduced our businesses to people from out of town who don’t realize we’re here and can’t believe we offer all this in a small town.”

Q: Why is it important to keep small businesses alive?

A: “Because a lot of people can’t travel and when they can’t travel or it’s storming, then who’s going to be here for them? Nobody. And how are they going to get their services and prescriptions? They need to stay healthy .... We’re here for the people.”

Q: Do you have any advice for prospective business owners?

A: “It’s neat to find the niches that are needed in small communities. A lot of people have moved here from a larger community or are dependent on certain services and so forth that they get in a larger community and they don’t have them here. You can get used to a small community lifestyle … it’s more rewarding in a small community, people see what you do, it’s like family."

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