At the heart of every community, there are small businesses that promote the local economy, support families of the neighborhood, and create a vibrant and diverse culture. Northwest Indiana is certainly no exception. With a hearty history of small businesses in the Region and no shortages of local shops, Northwest Indiana exemplifies how family-owned businesses can shape a community.
Mason Sullivan, a resident of Portage and an employee of a small business, gets a firsthand look at the importance of small businesses.
Originally from Steger, Sullivan spent time in Lowell before moving to Indianapolis. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from IUPUI, Sullivan returned to Northwest Indiana to plant roots in Portage. As a resident of Portage, Sullivan sees the broad range of local businesses the Region has to offer.
“I like how many different places there are to eat and stores to shop. There’s pretty much everything around between the Portage, Valpo, and Merrillville areas,” Sullivan said. “I love having that accessibility to anything I could want.”
Sullivan’s favorite small businesses center on the wide variety of dining options in the Region.
“I don’t ever cook,” Sullivan laughed. “I just eat out every day, and that really supports small businesses.”
Sullivan’s connection to local business goes deeper as an employee of a family-owned online retail store based in Crown Point. With little free time to dive into his favorite hobby of video games, Sullivan spends his work days selecting the best products for the business to order and stock.
“What I do is important because I create jobs and help grow a family-owned business,” Sullivan said.
With a passion for boosting the local economy, Sullivan strives to enhance the Region through his work and encourages members of the community to shop locally.
“I think that small businesses are very important in the community because it keeps money local,” Sullivan said. “It also doesn’t support larger businesses that are not as friendly to the world in many ways, both economically and environmentally. I think it’s important to keep your money in your own community.”
Sullivan continues to expand his education through online school, recognizing how having supportive family members and friends can make all the difference.
“I would like to thank my aunt because she’s always been there for me,” Sullivan said. “She helps me out when I need it, financially and emotionally.”
The success of any small business is dependent on the passion that its employees show. For Sullivan, the greatest reward of working at a small business is seeing how influential every step of the way can be on the health of the business.
“I guess a huge part of my personal passion is to grow things,” Sullivan said. “To me, it’s really exciting to be at work and to grow a small business because every day is rewarding. Every little step is a step to growing a business bigger, so it’s very exciting.”
Because of the dedication of employees like Mason Sullivan, the small businesses in the Region continue to thrive, adding value, stability, and vibrance to the community.