Big corporations, big-box retail, and economies of scales seem to define today’s economy, overshadowing locally owned small businesses. But in 2011, American Express wanted to find out what consumers think about local small business. So they surveyed 1,000 adults, and reported the findings:

  • 93 percent believed local businesses were valuable to their community and thought it was important to support them.
  • 73 percent made a deliberate effort to shop local to keep the businesses running.
  • When asked to think of a single local small business, 15 percent said they spend more than $150 there in a typical month.

The results of this survey suggest that most people are keenly aware of the importance of small businesses, and they’re eager to support them. This opens up a clear opportunity for locally owned and operated car wash businesses when crafting their messaging. We’ve already pointed out in a previous article that giving your marketing a personal touch can go a long way.

As this recent article by a small business CEO in Duct Tape Marketing notes, consumers’ sympathy for local business owners means those business owners shouldn’t be afraid to go out and do face-to-face networking. That could mean taking on leadership roles in the chamber of commerce or speaking at investor workshops. Anything to put your face in front of people is a good thing, writes Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of

Despite the rise of social networking and the perceived crumbling of face-to-face interaction it has caused, community is not dead. I have always been very passionate about local small business, but when I talk about real life networking within my community, I often get a few raised eyebrows. After all, I run an internet-based business — it isn’t like we get a lot of walk-in traffic! But establishing roots in your local community, regardless of what type of a business you run, is absolutely vital to your continued success. These relationships can help lead to partnerships and, though the internet has made it easier to market, word of mouth in the flesh is still invaluable to brand recognition.