A person carries a reusable ‘Small Business Saturday’
bag along Main Street on
Nov. 29, 2014, in West Bend.
often said that small businesses are the backbone of the
country’s economy, something which may become more
evident when looking at the impact they have on smaller
communities like those in Washington County.
businesses in the area give products, gift cards and
their time to local events and charity groups. Sometimes
they even host events to bring awareness to a cause.
Co-owner of Laughing Mountain Popcorn Nancy Laufenberg
said, “We don’t generally just write a check.” She added
she and her husband often give gift baskets to enhance
experiences at events. The events they work with range
from golf outings hosted by Big Brothers and Big Sisters
of Washington County to library story time at the West
Bend Community Memorial Library. They used to donate to
events as far away as the south side of Milwaukee, but
have decided to become more locally focused and keep
their efforts inside of West Bend.
“They’re little things, but they’re family things,”
Laufenberg said about their gift baskets. “We hope that
it makes them (kids) feel loved and that they’re
Other small businesses in the area focus on various
areas, Mountain Outfitters, for example, donates bikes
to the West Bend Police Department, hosts a Ride of
Silence for cyclists killed while riding, helps to keep
the Eisenbahn State Trail clean and works on the Tour of
America’s Dairyland race when it comes through the city.
Mountain Outfitters owner Kevin Schultz said they do it
“just to kind of help out and create a better community
that we live in.” He added, “Sometimes it’s us
initiating it and sometimes it’s someone coming to us.”
it comes to offering services or help Executive Director
of the Washington County Volunteer Center Sue Millin
said, “The size of the business is irrelevant.”
an organization that often depends on donations,
anything can help to enhance an experience.
just don’t have the resources to provide all this extra
stuff,” Millin said.
“This is what makes our community strong,” she added.
Small businesses are also able provide something both
unusual and unique to the consumers in the community in
which they operate.
Laufenberg said she was recently told by a customer that
the shop is a jewel of West Bend, something which meant
a lot to her. She added her business is a place where
“special requests can be accommodated.”
small business will take odd orders, large orders and
often times last-second orders as it, like other small
businesses, isn’t constrained by corporate rules.
will really work hard,” Laufenberg said. She added she
and her husband will often work late or early to get the
job done and what they do is handmade in the store and
hand-bagged as well.
Supporting these businesses on Small Business Saturday
can help keep them open.
Laufenberg said days like Small Business Saturday can
“re-awaken how important these little businesses are to