Conscious Capitalism and how local businesses care for our community

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For the love

In a previous article, I wrote about how local business is the backbone of the Manchester economy. An aspect of local business that I did not discuss in the article was just how much these businesses give back to the community, so I wanted to do so.

Whether it be by providing financial support, by giving in-kind donations or by sending employee volunteers, local businesses give a great deal back to their community. Some local business owners are even directly involved in city government by serving as city councilors (aldermen) or school board members.

Small Businesses build CommunitiesLocal businesses also care about the community that they serve because it is theirs and they take ownership of it. There is a certain pride that local business owners have that cannot be found elsewhere. I’m not saying that big box or chain leadership cannot have pride in their community or for what they do, but decisions don’t generally end with them. Big boxes and chains generally have a hierarchy that is far from the local location. The higher up in the structure one is, the further removed they are from the local shop – and the community.

There are, of course, exceptions. There are large companies that are working at making life better for everyone involved with their organization. A few examples are Virgin Group, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and The Container Store. In addition, there are a few food chains that have “pay what you can” locations, including Panera Bread, (locations called Panera Cares). Jon Bon Jovi owns a “pay what you can” restaurant called Soul Kitchen with two locations in New Jersey. In addition to benefiting their communities, these companies are also known for treating their employees very well.

Employee volunteers make all the difference.
Employee volunteers make all the difference.

The trend has started, and more large companies are starting to become more conscious of people and the environment. Part of this is consumer-driven, but much of it is because basic human decency is winning. The “care for others” mantra is actually being practiced, not just preached. More about large companies that care can be found on the Conscious Capitalism website.

I am glad that large companies are moving toward a more responsible model of caring for people, their communities and environment. But we can never forget that this has always been the way of local business. Local business has always supported its community; local business has always supported local youth sports and civic organizations; and local business has always supported the people. Local business continues to help grow the economy, even when big business isn’t.

In the past, local villages were a collection of local shops and eateries owned and operated by local residents. Even to this day, small towns often have village areas where one still finds these local gems. Even neighborhoods in larger communities are often home to local businesses. In part this is what makes these areas unique.

Aerial view of the city we love.
Aerial view of the city we love.

Manchester has many great examples of local businesses that care for their community—  some are well known for their civic involvement over the years. (For example, growing up I always heard about Pappy’s Pizza — and more specifically the late Ron Pappas and his involvement in the city. I remember Mr. Pappas visiting my schools and speaking about the dangers of drunk driving, overcoming adversity, and about community involvement). There are of course many other examples and we should be proud of them all.

Local businesses also continue to be instrumental in Manchester moving forward and can help solve issues that the city is facing. Local business often plays a large part in community improvement by leading efforts to make positive change. So when there is a problem, just look to our local businesses because chances are there is an owner out there who is leading the charge for change.

Downtown business area
Great American downtowns require the right mix of retail and restaurants, but they also need customers.

Next time we need a good or service, let’s consider local businesses. In addition to helping the business and the community, we would see about 48% of each purchase recirculate into the Manchester economy, (as compared to about 14% of each purchase at a chain store).

So let’s help Manchester… let’s support local business!

As a side note. This will be my last article for the “For the Love of Manchester” column. We have been blessed with a great opportunity that we are very excited about, but it will unfortunately keep us from moving back to MHT in the near future. Partly because of this, I decided to shift the focus of the column away from being exclusively about Manchester. The new column, called “Forward Focus,” will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and ideas. I will merge my business experience with that of others as well as the experience gained in building a new company from the ground up as we share perspectives and ideas that will help us continue to move forward, (while being mindful of and honoring the past of course). Manchester has a solid history of innovation, (we often call it ingenuity), and many of the discussions will tie into the future of the city. I hope you’ll continue to read my articles and will enjoy the new column. The first article will post on Friday, November 13 with one following every other Friday. 

ChicoineAbout the author: Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who moved to Manchester from Raymond in 1980 at the age of 8. He attended Gossler Park Elementary, Parkside and Southside Junior High, and West High, from which he graduated in 1990. After attending Notre Dame College in Manchester, Brian completed his undergraduate degree at Rhode Island College in Providence. Brian and his wife Jackie then came to Manchester in 2004 and were involved in various outreach organizations. Their two boys were born in Manchester during this time. After his position was eliminated in 2009, Brian and his family returned to Rhode Island. They have been living in Providence since 2010. Brian and his family love Manchester and are planning on returning within the next few months. Brian is currently working at helping the city move forward by connecting with other stakeholders and becoming involved with like-minded groups. Brian is also laying the foundation for an organization that will help strengthen the city and help it move forward.

Brian holds a Bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and a Master of Public Administration degree from Grand Canyon University. Brian currently works at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is also founder of a Facebook Group, Manchester Forward. You can contact him at

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About Carol Robidoux 6466 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!