Invest in yourself by investing in local businesses in Shelby Township, Utica

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 15, 2018

 Mattress To Go owner Jeff Scheuer lies on an adjustable bed at the store in Shelby Township.

Mattress To Go owner Jeff Scheuer lies on an adjustable bed at the store in Shelby Township.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

SHELBY/UTICA — Shopping locally can have more benefits for you than getting that crazy new deal.

Shopping locally can help keep your own town thriving and keep the money you spend in the community you live in, while also keeping your taxes lower. Nobody likes paying out their well-earned money, so why not make sure it comes back to you somehow?

Investing in your local businesses can do just that.

Many local business owners also put more effort into their businesses to make the community better too. They are more likely to purchase their products from other local store owners, which in turn keeps more money in the community.

Businesses often stay in the community they opened in because they want to keep their community growing and preserve community traditions.

“I’ve been in the Shelby Square Shopping Center for 10 years,” said Jeff Scheuer, the owner of Mattress To Go in Shelby Township. “When I decided to relocate my business, I looked for quite some time before settling on the Shelby Square location. People still remember the Schwark Fine Furniture location in this shopping center, and the Schwark family still owns and maintains this Shelby Square Shopping Center location, so I like that I am helping preserve the tradition of offering fine furniture on the northeast corner of 23 Mile and Van Dyke. And, of course, by staying local, I’m helping to maintain the curb appeal in Shelby Township by keeping storefronts occupied.”

Scheuer has found that the best support of his business is from the community around his store and the connection he has built within Shelby Township.

“Even though I have a national reputation in the mattress industry through my Beducation videos and the many articles I’ve written, I still find that the local presence and word-of-mouth serve me the best, and it’s in this way that I can make the most immediate and evidenced impact upon someone’s health and restoration. Providing a place where people may come in and inquire and test out the latest in mattress technology benefits our community, as it’s not that easy to lie down upon your computer monitor and test out an online mattress,” he said.

Word-of-mouth from happy customers can travel far and can be very rewarding, and businesses appreciate it tremendously.

“We’re extremely thankful of the repeat business we receive, and also how that extends to family, friends and neighbors. We help people recover and restore, which in turn helps them be healthier and more productive in our community. We also strive to give back through our Comfort For Everyone charitable giving, and we maintain a steady stream of donations to local homeless and domestic violence shelters, as well as groups such as Abigayle Ministries and the Disability Network,” said Scheuer.

Community leaders encourage shopping locally because it has many benefits.

Bryan Ede, the chairman of the Utica Downtown Development Authority, owns a business in his community — Michigan Insurance and Financial Services — and he also contributes as the DDA chairman.

“As the chairman of the Utica Downtown Development Authority, we depend on the tax dollars that our local businesses pay to fund our DDA. Without local businesses paying property taxes, we would not be able to make the critical improvements to our city. Shop local and support local businesses — your neighbors and your community depend on you. We know everyone wants to save a dollar here and there, but as you can see driving down Hall Road, retail businesses are getting killed by online competitors who don’t have the carrying cost of a local small business,” said Ede.

“With the upcoming Christmas season approaching, this is often a make-it-or-break-it time for small businesses. Please support them; they need it,” he said.

As a business owner, Ede sees what it’s like to build a local business and make the community a better place for all.

“Being a local small-business owner in downtown Utica, I depend on customers locally to support my business. Like most small businesses, it is hard to compete against the Amazons of the world in terms of size, but we compete on a different level — top-notch service and being part of a local community,” said Ede. “Since my business is local, I employ members of the community, which has the economic ripple effect — my employees own homes, buy cars, go out to dinner, etcetra,” said Ede.

Some of the ways Ede reaches out is through local events and school programs.

“Through my company, Michigan Insurance and Financial Services, we have our #MIAFSGivesBack program, where each year, we donate thousands of dollars to support local causes like Music in the Park, police K-9 vests, underfunded school programs, Stop the Bleed kits, tourniquets for local police departments, and helping out local dog rescues,” he said.

“MIAFS employs 50 people in 11 different locations throughout Michigan and Illinois. These 50 employees each contribute individually to their local economies, putting dollars back into local businesses. Being a small business, we compete daily against mega online competitors, but we focus as a business on our community,” said Ede.

Business owners like Ede take pride in the causes that they support, and they see the benefits for themselves.

“Being local, I also support local causes that are near and dear to our hearts — something that mega companies are challenged to do on a small, local scale. It is easy for an Amazon or a Google to write a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars to a charity, but the local benefits are often not felt. That is where — being a small-business owner — we shine,” he said.