Although it may look a bit different this year, the holiday season is nevertheless in full swing. With everything that’s happened this year, it’s more important than ever to shop small and shop local when buying gifts for your loved ones.
Big box stores haven’t faced the same financial setbacks brought on by the pandemic as small business owners have. According to American Express, 62 percent of U.S. small businesses reported that they need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business. While the convenience of Amazon shopping is tempting, there are businesses in your neighborhood that need your help!
Voting with your dollar
You’ve probably heard the phrase a lot, but what does it really mean to vote with your dollar?
Every time you make a purchase, you’re casting a vote for what you support and want more of in this world. With that money, you can choose to support the causes you care about - like local communities, fair wages, and a healthier environment.
The rise of organic food, fair trade businesses, and clean power is due to trends in consumer spending. When more people choose to purchase from small local companies instead of the alternatives, we create the demand for it.
Whenever you make a purchase, think about who or what you’re supporting with those dollars. The consumer has power - use it! It’s a vote that you can cast each and every day.
Why shopping local matters
When you shop small, you have a big impact! Buying local creates jobs, impacts the economy, and has positive environmental consequences.
Local businesses give back more to your community
Small businesses contribute more to the community than big chain companies do. In fact, they tend to donate 250% more to local nonprofits and community causes than larger businesses do.
They also create a sense of community that just doesn’t happen with box stores. Small business owners often partner with and support other local businesses, contributing to the neighborhood economically and socially. In turn, this is also how a community retains its character.
Local businesses also bolster the diversity of industries in an area, making it less vulnerable to economic collapse. This creates a stronger tax base which makes better use of public services.
Buying local has a positive economic impact
When you spend money locally, more money stays in the local economy than when you buy from a box store. Buying from a local business ensures that more than two thirds of every dollar spent will stay in the local economy, while buying from a chain store means over half of the value will leave the community.
What’s more, a lot of this money is paying local salaries, being donated to local charities, and helping keep other small companies afloat.
Small businesses create jobs
There are 28.8 million small businesses that make up 99.7 percent of all businesses in this country. Collectively, they account for about two thirds of all the jobs in the United States.
According to the Small Business Administration, big businesses eliminated four million jobs since 1990 while small businesses added eight million. Locally owned businesses also retain more employees during economic downturns, something important to consider as we face a nationwide financial crisis.
Local purchasing reduces the environmental footprint
Products from big box stores have often been shipped long distances, contributing to fossil fuel production and air pollution. Plus, when people live near neighborhood commercial districts, they’re far more likely to walk, bike, or take public transit.
Local businesses contribute to shorter commute times all around, as they control urban sprawl and keep people from needing to drive farther out of town. And of course, businesses that support local foods are friendlier to the environment and local wildlife.
Local & dispersed business ownership helps strengthen the middle class
The growing market power of a small number of large corporations has led to the increase in income equality over the last two decades. When a community has more small, diverse businesses, it helps to strengthen the middle class. These types of businesses are linked to lower poverty rates and a stronger per capita income growth.
Ways to support small businesses this holiday season
To shop small this year and help support your local business owners, here’s a few ways you can get involved:
Use the business search from Independent We Stand
Independent We Stand is all about supporting local. With their business search, you can find small companies in your area that have registered to their platform.
Check out local business’ online stores
This year, more companies shifted to eCommerce websites and created online shops they didn’t have before. Retail stores in your neighborhood may or may not be open to walk-in shopping this season, but check to see if you can order from them online.
Find gifts from Locally
Locally helps you find bigger brand products at small stores near you. So if you know you want to buy your brother a Yeti tumbler, you can find out what local business near you sells it instead of referring to Target or Amazon. Yay!
Buy your loved ones gift cards to local restaurants
Restaurants have taken one of the hardest hits this year, so show your support by grabbing some gift certificates or merch for holiday gifts or stocking stuffers.
Check the Shop Small Map
This awesome interactive map helps you locate small businesses in your neighborhood.
Participate in Small Business Saturday
Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday that encourages people to shop small during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year. But of course, you can do this every damn day as well.
Spread the word
Use your voice to spread awareness about the impact of shopping local. Education and awareness are the best tools to change people’s habits and open their minds.
Love finding new local businesses to support? Check out our series of Stockist Spotlights, where we feature retailers that sell our products and support other small businesses in their shops.