Local business owners stress the importance of community support all year long

SOUTHERN OREGON — With Hanukkah beginning tonight and Christmas in less than a month, small business owners are hoping you think of them when you shop for the holidays.

While Small Business Saturday has come and gone, owners want to remind the community their support is essential all year long.

The Chamber of Medford and Jackson County says on its website that over 1,200 small and large businesses are operating in the community.

2 local small business owners say support from the community is crucial to keep their business going strong – and they’re grateful for the southern Oregonians who choose them over a corporate-run store.

“I think it’s so important, I think people… we’re now moving into this era where everyone wants something different, unique, handmade,” said the owner of Grace and Lathe, Co., Mary Tworek. She creates custom jewelry in Central Point.

She says she still works full-time but loves to create earrings and barrettes on the side, selling them online through Etsy.

“My earrings are made in very small batches, very slow made, [I’m] very meticulous about my work so I think people are just wanting to give smaller people like myself their money, instead of these larger corporations.”

Similar to Tworek, local small business Milky Paper Co. owner Daja Brown also uses Etsy to sell her custom goods and jewelry.

“I find that when we choose to consciously shop from small local businesses throughout the year, we’re supporting our local economy and also building up our community – which directly affects the families behind the small businesses,” Brown said.

She says she took a break from her full-time job when the pandemic struck. She says her small business helped her pay her bills.

“When everything happened I kind of took a step back and started staying home more… so the business has been great,” she said.

And aside from helping these small business owners survive and stimulate the local economy, support from sales helps them continue making unique products, with room for expanding down the line.

“I’m just so excited that people like my stuff and want to wear it, it really means more to me than anything,” said Tworek.

If you would like to learn more about these local small businesses, you can visit Grace and Lathe Co. here and Milky Paper Co. here.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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