First, of course, is the moral imperative: We all should take responsibility to ensure everyone can walk the streets, do business and live their lives free of discrimination or concern about receiving verbal or physical abuse.
But small business’ own well-being also is at stake. For one, a negative experience at one independent business can degrade a person’s perception of others -- especially within that community. And if a person doesn’t feel safe from bigotry in your neighborhood, they’re far more likely to travel to one where they feel more welcome to shop or dine -- or simply shop online.
Sending a clear message to anyone entering your establishment can help, but educating employees also is essential. While we hope overt bigotry from an employee or business owner is a rarity, businesses should cultivate an environment in which all customers receive welcoming treatment, not merely an absence of hostility.
A friendly verbal welcome and a smile always is good business, but especially so for people who stand out from others in your community. Small businesses also should consider educating their staff on how to protect customers in the event of harassment in or around their business, without endangering their own safety.
Finally, we suggest business owners strive to hire and develop a diverse staff, including leadership positions, not only to model inclusivity, but for their business’ success. Non-ideological studies have found businesses ranked in the top quartile for diversity in gender and race generate greater profit than more homogeneous ones! We welcome you to recommend additional materials to link on this page.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431