Everyone knows about Black Friday and most are familiar with Cyber Monday. However, this leaves many local, independent businesses throughout the country in the shadows of these mega-giants as we kick off the holiday season. With the sagging economy, it is important that we recognize the importance of supporting these local businesses for our health and wellness care. Last year began a movement that recognized the importance of local businesses, and now each Saturday after Thanksgiving, “Small Business Saturday” occurs where shoppers can “Buy Local” by supporting the local, small businesses in their community.
Why shop small?
They are our neighbors and the people sitting across from us in church. Their companies reinvest in the local community at a significantly higher rate than chains and internet retailers, supporting our schools, roads, police force, fire fighters, and more. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and nearly half of the American workforce goes to work each day at a small business. Small businesses created 65% of all new jobs over the past 17 years, which have a ripple-effect throughout the local economy as families get back on their feet, buy homes, and stimulate the market. By shopping small, you are investing in your community and creating positive change.
In fact, if every family spent an extra $10 per month buying from a local independent business, $9.3 billion would be put back in local communities according to Independent We Stand, the organization behind Small Business Saturday. For Knoxville, that translates to a whopping $23,352,370 put back into our city.
How do I shop small for home health care?
Over 358 thousand Tennesseans work at a small business that focuses on health care and social assistance. This gives you a plethora of options for choosing a locally owned, small business with roots in your community.
Home Medical Equipment (HME) is unique in that 90% of all of the companies throughout the country are independent, small businesses. They are specialty stores inside each community that have expertise in the equipment, supplies, and services that can keep you living comfortably and independently in your home. Unlike big box retailers, HME companies have trained, knowledgeable employees who coordinate with physicians and medical facilities each day to care for patients. They file your insurance, listen to concerns of family, set up equipment in your home, and provide support for you after you purchase the item. They are a critical part of your health care, providing hospital beds, wheelchairs, oxygen therapy, and even seat lift chairs and daily living aides.
Since the decision-makers of these small businesses are live where you live, they keep their finger on the pulse of their business and are able to quickly respond to patients’ needs, such as the recent natural disaster in Knoxville where the county was pummeled with golf-and softball-sized hail. Many patients’ cars were destroyed and inoperable. Local companies recognized the need to help and went beyond the call of duty, donating time and manpower to helping their patients get the care they needed while they were stranded in their homes without transportation. Their decisions are not made from a corporate office across the country; they are made with their ears to the ground, listening to the needs of your community.
When you look at obtaining medical equipment, talk to your physician about some reputable companies in the area. Many HME items are covered by insurance at set rates across the board, enabling for you to choose your company based on more than just price. Ask the company about the services they offer their patients. Talk to them about how they contribute to your city and where they are headquartered. You may be surprised to learn that the people caring for you are the very people volunteering at a community center, leading Sunday School, fostering a child, fundraising for local hospitals, all of which our staff at Lambert’s do for the Knoxville community.
Choosing who will be your health care provider is a personal, intimate choice. I encourage you to explore the homecare companies in your city that have been taking care of their neighbors for years. Support them on Small Business Saturday by buying helpful holiday gifts for your loved one that benefits from homecare. Ask your local HME company about mobility assistance, preventing falls, or perhaps promoting independent safe bathing. It’ll be a win-win as you find practical, needed ways to help your loved one and you’ll be contributing to your local economy as well.