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Small Business Gratitude

Small Business Saturday is the latest addition to the Holiday shopping lexicon.  After fighting the crowds on Black Friday and before settling in at your computer on Cyber Monday, you can find some fabulous deals at your local small businesses on Saturday.

I love this idea, in part because of my admiration for those courageous souls who embark on the roller coaster ride of owning a small business.  It is not easy.  I know.

Not because I have ever had that kind of courage, but because I have had the good fortune of working at small businesses my whole life.  I’ve seen first hand the ups and downs, the twists and turns.

It takes passion and perseverance for sure, but it also requires an intangible kind of magic.  In my experience, it is the essence of the business owner that makes the magic.

My very first job as a teenager was at a quaint little restaurant called The Belgian Waffle Works Cafe.   It was owned by a  young couple who were generous and funny and kept us upbeat and laughing while we hustled about the always crowded cafe.  I learned from their example the value of treating your employees and customers with respect. The food was delicious, but it was their charm and work ethic that made the place a success.

Flash forward to today.  My entire career has been made possible by small business owners.

For the past fifteen years I have had the great  joy of teaching dance classes and that would not have happened if not for Sue Benton.  Sue has been teaching dance classes in Westport for many years.  Her classes are full of heart and offer something truly special.  She provides a space for personal revelations and accomplishments to occur through the glory of dance and simply by being in her presence.

I was taking and loving her class regularly back in 1998 when she randomly approached me, told me she was opening her own studio and asked me if I wanted to teach for her.  In a rare moment of pure brilliance, I quickly said YES!

Thus began a whole new path for me.  One that allowed me to do two things I felt born to do, dance and choreograph, but also showed me I had a passion for teaching! This new love lead me towards yoga.

I have been teaching private yoga in Westport since 2003 and from day one, I have been working with Philip LiCastri.  He owns Pinnacle Health and Fitness, a  personal training facility that, under his care and guidance, offers more than just great fitness.  It offers a sense of community.

He has built a stellar reputation over his long career and he is an absolute pro.  But it is his character that distinguishes him most.  He is exceedingly kind and supportive, always encouraging his clients and staff to do and be their best.

Working in the inspiring businesses created by Sue and Phil has enabled me to grow as a person, hone my skills and build a wonderful career.  Because of who they are, they attract amazing people and so I get to work with clients and colleagues whom I adore.  I am thankful beyond words.

On the occasion of Small Business Saturday, I want to say thank you to all of the brave, hard-working small business owners out there who take great leaps to bring quality and individuality to our commerce.

We need them, so let’s support them, not just today, but every chance we get!!




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