How Small Businesses Serve Their Communities

How Small Businesses Serve Their Communities

From January to August of 2021, I worked as a salesman and inventory handler at Constantine Flooring Center. It was a transformational experience for me as it was the first job I truly loved going to and the experience I gained there was second to none. I processed orders, learned how material flowed in and out, watched my bosses talk to sales reps, and sold to customers.

Most importantly though, I learned how a business can be used as a tool for supporting others.

Three takeaways from my summer there:

  • Small businesses provide services people in the area need
    • Unlike consumer products that can be ordered from anywhere in the world and shipped to your door, if you want flooring installed in your house, you’re going to need someone relatively local to be able to do it for you. No one is catching a flight from Europe to come lay down some hardwood for you. Small service businesses fill demand where those services are needed.
  • Small businesses hire and employ locally
    • To follow the last example, services can’t be given remotely meaning the scope of who can do jobs is necessarily limited to some radius around the area. This means that when a small business has employees, many if not all of those employees are going to come from local areas. The installation cannot be outsourced outside of the community.
  • Small businesses generally have ties to the areas they serve
    • Listen, I’m not saying giant businesses don’t do anything to help the areas they operate in, but they can’t possibly have the same connection with the areas they work in as a small business located 1,000 feet from the high school from which both owners graduated. There’s a sense of pride and duty to an area and a community which isn’t there when the CEO is managing 1,000 stores from a high-rise in NYC.

As a student of economics, I’ve long felt a tad of resentment for firms of all sizes. After all, most of our models explicitly assume that firms will act in their own best interest at all times, people be damned and maximum profit be worshipped.

My time at Constantine Flooring completely changed my notion of what business is and what good business can look like.







Sign up to get my writings in your inbox