A crowd of Davidson business owners assembled on the Village Green Thursday morning for a group photo, to help business software company Sage kick off a nationwide “RV tour” promoting small business and the notion of shopping locally.
The Irvine, Calif.-based company said it chose Davidson as the starting point for its 16-city, 50-day “Sage Listens” tour for several reasons. Its the home of Davidson Chocolate Co. in Davidson Commons shopping center, owned by John and Sue Elliott, who are longtime users of Sage’s business management software.
Meanwhile, the company liked Davidson’s size and sense of community. “Davidson is a thriving, engaged community, and we thought it was a great place to start this tour,” said Aimee Ertley, the company’s Atlanta-based senior director of public relations.
And it didn’t hurt that Ertley knows Davidson well. She is a 1994 Davidson College graduate.
She said the tour is designed to meet with customers, find out how their businesses are doing and learn how the company can do more to support them.
“It also gives us a platform to talk about the importance of shopping local,” she said. She said a typical small business returns 68 percent of its profits to the local community through salaries and local purchasing. By contrast, larger businesses spend only 43 percent locally.
And small businesses account for the majority of jobs nationwide and in the Charlotte region, where 43,000 small businesses provide 80 percent of local jobs.
Sage’s visit to Davidson also included an “ice cream and truffle social” Wednesday afternoon at Davidson Chocolate Co. And Davidson Chocolate donated 10 percent of sales during the afternoon to A Giving Spirit Foundation, a Davidson-based nonprofit that research on ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and helps families experiencing adversity in the face of unforeseen health conditions.
From Davidson, the tour moved on to Boston, where Sage was planning a lunch, tastings and tour of the Harpoon Brewery, which is also a customer.