At nearly 80 years strong Mrs. G TV, Appliances & Sleep Center has become synonymous with modern small business success stories in an era of online shopping. And now, after years of building a reputation as an advocate for independent businesses, Mrs. G’s president and CEO Debbie Schaeffer has taken a more visible role in the Mercer County area as co-chair of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Independent Business Alliance.
Since 2012 Schaeffer has been lobbying for the passage of the Main Street Fairness Act, which calls for an even playing field among bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce entities across the country. This sparked a demand for hyperlocal awareness and led to the formation of the Independent Business Alliance. The mission of the Independent Business Alliance is to promote local independent businesses and facilitate networking and education with a focus on developing growth strategies for independent businesses in the Princeton region. And what’s not widely known is how much of an impact that independent businesses have on the local community.
“Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns three times more money to our local economy than one spent at a chain — a benefit we all can bank on,” said Schaffer. “Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses. And when you support an independent, you’re creating more jobs and keeping community programs alive. If the business isn’t doing well, the community suffers. It’s simple math.”
As co-chair of the Independent Business Alliance, Schaeffer worked with Peter Crowley, CEO and president of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, to develop criteria for business membership as well as a model for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer support.
“My goal is to influence the community to shift their spending,” added Schaeffer. “I also want to encourage businesses to support each other. This was the example my grandmother set as a business owner, and it’s the model I practice and hope others emulate.”
The formation of the Independent Business Alliance is just the beginning of Schaeffer’s impact on the longevity of independent businesses. As the newly elected vice chair of the New Jersey Retailer Merchants Association, she is working with President John Holub to encourage more independent NJ retailers to join the NJRMA.
And next week, Schaeffer will join Holub and Peter Crowley for her third Walk to Washington to discuss New Jersey’s current economic situation with corporate executives, small business owners and legislators. Schaeffer’s passion and influence is clearly felt by all around her, and anyone who shares her drive can take the first step by getting involved with the Independent Business Alliance. Either visit the Princeton Chamber website, princetonchamber.org, or send Schaeffer a message on one of the many social networks where she can be found. She’s everywhere—for her customers, for the community, and for independent businesses in New Jersey.
Mrs. G TV, Appliances & Sleep Center, 2960 Route 1, Lawrence. 609-882-1444. www.mrsgs.com. See ad, page 12.