With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday coming fast, it’s time to think about your holiday shopping endeavors. Shopping local is great because it provides support to your community, and gives back to the people that make these businesses possible in the first place. Here is our list of the top 5 reasons to shop local this holiday season:
1 - Support Your Local Economy
Without a doubt, local shoppers are providing financial support to the mom and pop shops in their areas. Supporting these businesses, means supporting the owners, the employees and their families. More money circulating provides everyone involved with the means to keep doing what they love. Shopping locally also means that a portion of those taxes are going into the Police and Fire departments, local schools, and keeping roads maintained.
Shopping at your local branch of a chain store does still provide support to the neighborhood however, only about 14% of that money stays in your area. Nearly 50% of the money spent in locally owned businesses, gets pumped right back into the community. Every single dollar spent locally, allows triple that amount to enter the local economy. Even shopping online is helpful because you generate 50x more in your area with each dollar spent on locally owned online stores, rather than a large retailer’s website.
2 - Find Unique and Creative Gifts
Typically, small communities have incredible local talent, especially when it comes to unique or creative products on shelves. Shopping local gives these craftspeople the exposure and funding they need to grow their business. Give your special someone a unique gift that nobody else in the entire universe has!
Think about it, you can log into any large retailer’s website and get a gift for someone, but it lacks that personal touch that bears the communities unique identity. When you shop locally, your gift-giving options just exploded with possibilities to get something for someone that is truly special. These items are also probably much higher quality than the cheap, mass-produced counterparts at big box stores.
3 - Get a Better Shopping Experience
In most cases, employees at big retailers are really just there for the paycheck, with some exceptions. Local shop owners and employees are generally more knowledgable and committed to their craft, because they built it themselves with hard work and determination. The dedication and passion they offer really does shine all the way down to the product or service that they sell. Customer service is their prime goal in mind, because they truly value your business and want you to come back in the future.
Aside from the top notch staff, many small businesses offer a more relaxed and open shopping experience. Take a small cigar shop for example: The owner wants to make a sale, but he also wants to guide you through all your options and inform a first-time cigar buyer of everything they need to know to make an informed purchase. If you don’t know anything about cigars, the owner is more than happy to answer questions you may have. Large retailers really just lack the same touch that these small stores can provide. Bigger stores mean more busy people going about their day, which leads to less help from staff if you have questions because they are helping other customers, so on and so forth.
4 - Shopping Local is Better For The Environment
Planet Earth is the only one we get, we better take care of it now. Shopping local is a great way to help the environment stay cleaner. You may not think about it, but you’d be surprised how much of an effect shopping local has on protecting the environment. When you drive your car, it emits toxic gasses in the form of engine exhaust. Driving right around the corner versus to the mall across town, significantly reduces the amount of exhaust fumes emitted. You also have to think about how bigger stores receive their supplies. Semi Trucks drive great distances to bring in shipments of new product to hit shelves, creating a lot more gasses than your little car is ever going to.
Another thing worth noting is that local businesses are also supporting themselves on other local businesses, meaning everything you buy from them travels less, therefore costs less in harmful gasses. Local businesses also consume far fewer resources than larger stores, significantly reducing their carbon footprint in the grand scheme of things.
5 - Generate Future Growth in your Community
Whether you know it or not, your purchase from a small business has a far-reaching impact on the community. Shopping at a small store helps them stay open and thriving. With enough people doing the same, they are able to improve their business even further, add new products, maintain their physical storefront, and create a genuinely great brand. The holiday season is primetime for these businesses to really thrive.
If you do make a purchase from a small business, be sure to leave a review or recommend a friend or family member for some good ol’ word-of-mouth advertising. These shops may not be able to afford proper advertising, so your review or recommendation may be just what they need to reach the right people and grow. Doing these things means you are creating more job stability for the staff, or opening the door to new positions if they have grown further.