National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day is celebrated on March 29th. The holiday was founded by Rick and Margie Segal, as a way to honor their parents who started a hat shop in 1939 and grew it into a multi-million dollar clothing shop.
It’s important to have a day to recognize small businesses, but it’s even more important to support those businesses year-round.
Mom and pop shops help stimulate the local economy by infusing more dollars back into it than big box stores do. They also help strengthen local communities, create diversity, and prevent urban sprawl.
Learn how to celebrate National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day on March 29th, as well as ways to support your local mom and pop shops year-round to help ensure their success.
What are mom and pop stores?
“Mom and pop store” describes a locally owned small business. They’re the antithesis of big chains. Mom and pop stores tend to work into the existing infrastructure of a city or town, as opposed to requiring the construction of a new building, parking lot, roads, water and electricity lines, etc.
Small businesses are also built by members of your community who know the local community well and have noticed an opportunity to serve it better.
They typically start as one store/establishment that is specific to the city; you won’t find dozens of locations around the city or across the country (like you would a Starbucks).
Mom and pop shops often source their products and supplies from other local businesses, and may even carry locally made products.
Examples of mom and pop stores
Any type of business can be a mom and pop shop. It’s simply a business that is small, locally run, and independent.
- Clothing store
- Jewelry store
- Gift shop
- Coffee shop
- Book store
- Record store
- General store
- Grocery store
- Liquor store
- Flower shop
- Furniture store
- Repair shop
- Toy stores
- Hair salons and barbers
- Tattoo shops
- Accounting firms
Why is it called mom and pop shop?
The term “mom and pop shop” refers to a family-owned business. It paints the picture of a mom and dad opening a small business while family members help run it. Of course, not every mom and pop business is family owned. It’s simply a term that suggests it’s a small operation that could be run by just a few people.
Is a franchise considered a small business?
A franchise is considered a small business because each location is owned by a local entrepreneur, not a major corporation. The owner of a franchise simply pays royalties to the franchisor (i.e. the major corporation).
Although a franchise is considered a small business, it doesn’t offer the same benefits a true mom and pop shop does. Mainly because fewer dollars are kept in the local economy. When a franchise owner pays royalties to the franchisor, it lowers the franchise owner’s profits, so they have less money to put back into the local economy.
The franchise’s supplies are also typically supplied by the franchisor. Meaning, supplies are shipped in, as opposed to purchased locally. This also reduces how much money is spent within the local economy.
A franchise also doesn’t introduce as much product/service diversity into a local community. They’re offering the same products and/or services as other franchise locations. A mom and pop store will offer a unique set of products/services to best serve their local customer base.
Why it’s important to support mom and pop stores
It’s challenging to start a business, especially a brick-and-mortar store. Small businesses don’t have the startup capital big corporations have.
When a corporation opens a store in a new location, they already have proof of concept; they know their store will make money, and how it will make money. They have a fool-proof playbook and know the exact steps to take. They also have existing profits to put towards opening a new store, so it has a head start when it comes to being profitable.
Big chains often receive tax breaks and incentives from a city when opening a new store. Many city officials want big box stores to move into their town because of the influx of jobs they immediately create.
When an entrepreneur opens a small business, they may be bootstrapping it, or building their business using loans. They don’t have proof of concept and are risking everything to start their business. They don’t know their path to success yet and have limited money to spend on branding, marketing, market research, etc.
A small business owner is also operating with a small team of people or is a one-person operation. They need to wear many hats and take on many responsibilities that would typically be handled by a set of employees.
In short, mom and pop shops need your support. When you shop with their business and encourage others to do so too, you help take some of the pressure off them. Your support helps them grow their profit margin so they can keep their doors open next month and put money back into their business to help it grow.
Mom and pop stores vs big chains
Mom and pop stores create product, service, and business diversity in a city while big chains create a cookie-cutter experience consumers can get anywhere.
Big chains send more dollars out of the local economy (and back to their head offices) while small businesses reinvest more of their earnings back into the local economy.
Mom and pop stores help create a unique and strong community and strengthen the local economy. Although they don’t create a surge of jobs as quickly as a big box store moving into town will, they do create (better) job opportunities in the long run.
Big chains are a threat to mom and pop stores because of the money and power behind them. Big corporations have large budgets to spend on marketing to bring more people into their stores. Those big budgets also allow them to stock more products, offer more services, hire more employees, stay open longer hours, and set up shop in a convenient location. These perks attract more consumers to the big box stores and away from mom and pop shops.
Big chains also have bigger profit margins, which allows them to offer products and services at lower prices; prices mom and pop shops can’t compete with.
In a post-pandemic world, it’s even more important to help out small business owners by spending your money with them. Thousands of small businesses closed because they didn’t have the high profit margins and cash flow to help float them through hard times.
How to support mom and pop stores
Here are 7 ways to support small businesses on National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.
1) Spend money with them
It’s not always the most convenient or cheapest option, but when you can, buy products and hire services from local mom and pop shops. Every dollar counts and even just a few purchases per week or month can make a big difference.
When it’s time to buy a gift for someone, consider purchasing products or services from a local business, or buy a gift card from one. Not only does your cash help the business out, you’re also introducing someone new to the establishment. If the gift recipient loves the item or service you gift them, they’re likely to return to the small business and become a customer.
2) Spread the word
Word-of-mouth marketing is some of the best marketing a business can get, and it’s free! When you tell friends and family about a small business you love, or suggest one when someone asks for your recommendation, you’re helping promote that business. You may even share your favorite small businesses on social media. Marketing is a big and expensive task for a small business, so any help is appreciated.
3) Leave reviews
Many consumers don’t want to take a chance on an unknown business. Big chains often seem like the safer bet because they’re well-known, have been around for years, and have thousands, if not millions of customers. When you support a small business and they meet or exceed your expectation, be sure to let them and others know by writing a review.
The business may have a Google business account that allows you to leave a review on Google, or they may have an online shop that allows you to submit reviews on specific products or services. Alternatively, you can leave your review by commenting on their social media posts.
If there isn’t a way to leave a public review, it’s still worth it to send the business an email with your feedback. They may ask for your permission to share it publicly.
4) Offer grace
If a small business’s products or services don’t meet your expectations, offer them a chance to make it right before leaving a negative review publicly. Your feedback, even if it’s not positive, can help them improve their business too. Small business owners are often eager to hear how they can improve. And, they have the ability to make changes to their business; the same can’t be said when the manager of a big box store hears your complaint.
Remember, a small business owner has to wear many different hats. They’re often the store’s buyer, manager, sales associate, accountant, customer service representative, stock person, merchandiser, etc. They’re doing their best and learning as they go, so it’s important to cut them some slack.
5) Follow, like & share on social media
Social media is often an easy and budget-friendly way for small business owners to market their business and reach new people. However, social media platforms have become more saturated and money-hungry, making it harder for small businesses to reach their audience through them. The more popular a post or account seems, the more a platform will show it in people’s feeds. When you follow, like, comment, and share a small business and its posts, you’re letting the social media algorithm know: this is a popular post/account. Your interactions with a small business’s social media account can help them grow on the platform and reach more people.
6) Teach others
You understand the importance of shopping local and spending more of your dollars with mom and pop shops, instead of big chains. When you get the opportunity, share with others why you choose to support local so they also understand the importance as well.
And when it’s your turn to choose a restaurant, coffee shop, store, etc. to meet friends and family at, choose a mom and pop shop. You’ll introduce others to the great selection of businesses your city has to offer and encourage them to step outside their comfort zone and explore new businesses.
To help keep your local small businesses open and thriving, be sure to repeat these steps each week, month, or as often as you can. Become a loyal customer to the local businesses you love and try to discover new ones in your city each month.
When is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day?
Wednesday March 29th 2023
Friday March 29th 2024
Saturday March 29th 2025
Sunday March 29th 2026
Monday March 29th 2027
National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day social media images
You can (right) click on each of these images and save them to your computer so you can then upload them to your social media account or website. You can also add your business’s name, website URL, or logo to the images before posting them to social media.
Be sure to mark March 29th on your calendar and support your favorite mom and pop stores on that day!
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!