It’s nearing the end of November and holiday shopping is probably one of the main things on your mind (unless you’re one of those superheroes who have already completed your holiday shopping!).
Regardless of whether you’re mid-way through your gift-giving list or haven’t even begun, we want to invite you to rethink the way you shop this season.
The Internet has opened up Pandora’s box of possibilities for the types of products we have access to purchase. You can order just about anything you need from Amazon! While we aren’t haters of major retailers and online shopping, there is something quite different about shopping with these “big box stores” and shopping small.
In a nutshell, shopping small is all about shopping at businesses that are well… small. These aren’t the major brand name stores or chain restaurants, they are the “ma and pa stores.” They are often the dream of a family, pair of friends, or individual entrepreneurs who followed their dream and opened up their very own businesses.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a record number of new businesses established. According to the Census Bureau, a whopping 5.4 million applications were filed to form new businesses in 2021! While we were stuck at home, many people decided to begin working for themselves and took their hobbies and talents to the next level.
Owning a small business is risky business, but those who own them know the potential reward far outweighs the risk.
Before we get into it, is there any value in shopping small? Why should we opt to support local shops and restaurants as opposed to the more convenient (and often cheaper) big box stores?
One of the notable benefits of shopping small is that the dollars you spend at a local business stay directly in the community. It doesn’t go out to some wealthy CEO somewhere, it directly impacts the business and community it finds itself in.
There is something unique about small businesses that foster local collaboration. For example, a local coffee shop supports the community and economy around it when it partners with other local small businesses. They may source their milk from a local dairy farm and baked goods from the bakery across town. These symbiotic relationships stimulate the local economy and put the profits in the pockets of other small businesses.
Shopping online is by far one of the most convenient ways to shop. It is quick and impersonal, and we can get on with our shopping without leaving the comfort of our homes. But the thing about shopping at these larger companies is that we miss out on something vital to our humanity — personal interactions with real people.
When you choose to shop local, you are supporting families that are a part of the fabric of your community. You support single mothers, ambitious friends, and dedicated families. You are having a direct impact on the lives of business owners and their families.
You are not just supporting these people financially, but you are supporting their dream. You enable them to pursue their passion and provide a wonderful service to their community. That is truly a very special thing!
One of the greatest parts of consistently shopping locally is the relationship you can develop with the local business owners and employees. You shift from a nameless face with “Order #123” to a loyal partner. You aren’t just a customer or a client, you are a friend!
Some people may not care about the personal touch of a local business; they may be content to shop and get on with their lives. But consider this: we did a whole lot of online shopping during the pandemic. We also missed out on a whole lot of personal interactions and relationships. Wouldn’t it be a great change of pace to shop local and have some real-life interactions?
Shopping small is beginning to be a new change of pace for many communities around the world. This trend is becoming so popular that there is now a day dedicated to shopping small. Small Business Saturday was established in 2010 and is a day that centers around shopping small and shopping local. This day is sandwiched right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Similarly to Giving Tuesday, this day dials back our consumer mentality and helps us focus more on local support and generosity.
Now that you know all about the perks of shopping small, what can you do personally to support your community’s businesses? We want to give you 4 practical ways that you can do just that!
It goes without saying, but a very simple way to support local businesses is by actually shopping at them!
As mentioned before, shopping small is typically going to be a bit more pricey than at big retailers and online. You have to decide for yourself the pros and cons of both of these options. You may be paying more to shop local, but you are experiencing the benefit of supporting your community, having an intentional interaction, and benefiting your local economy as a whole.
Take a few moments to go through your list of people you need to get gifts for and think of some local shops you can purchase their gifts from. If all else fails, you can buy a gift card from a local shop or restaurant and give that as a present too!
The holidays mean preparing or attending delicious meals with family and friends. Everybody and their mother will be rushing to the grocery store to stock up on all of the holiday essentials. Instead of shopping at supercenters this year, consider sourcing your food locally.
If you find yourself in a rural setting, check out what farms are near you and pick up your turkey, sweet potatoes, and even baked goods from them instead. If you’re living in a city, check out if you have any farmers' markets in the area you can shop at.
Sourcing food locally is one of the best ways to stimulate the local economy, ensure your food is fresh, and also support local farmers and their families.
If you’re not so into the cooking scene, there is still an option for you! During the COVID-19 pandemic, dining out at restaurants was all but eliminated. Many restaurants and fast food chains had to switch over their entire system to make it during the shutdown. For the rest of us, ordering takeout became a new norm!
While a home-cooked meal is incredible, sometimes the best option is to enjoy a delicious meal at a nice restaurant. Many local restaurants are family-owned, and it is truly a blessing to them to have support from other local families.
Before we move on, there is one thing to note about dining out during the holidays: make sure you tip well! Many restaurant employees give up time with their families to serve you well. Make sure you practice generosity and tip them well to show your appreciation!
One of the best ways you can support local businesses is obviously by frequenting them and purchasing their products, food, or services. But there is one major way you can help out your community’s businesses without spending a dime.
Sharing small businesses on your social media networks is an incredible, simple way to get the word out about a particular business. Here are just a few simple ways you can do that:
It only takes a few moments to share content about your favorite local business. By doing this, you reach a broader audience than what that business can reach alone. Besides, there is something about personal experience with a brand or business that stimulates trustworthiness. When you see a friend rave about a product or restaurant, you are probably more likely to check it out too!
This holiday season, you have the opportunity to serve your community in many different ways. Choosing to shop local and support all the great businesses that make up your community is a big one of them!
We hope that your choice to shop local and shop small makes a lasting impact on your community.
Your community matters. The best way to show them love this holiday season? Serve them well!
You’re in the community you're in for a specific purpose. How can serve them this holiday season?