SUSTAINABLE LIVING

6 Reasons To Shop Small and Shop Local This Holiday Season [And All Year Long]

Do you know that following Black Friday is Small Business Saturday?  We’ve got 6 reasons for you to skip the big box stores, start shopping small and buy local. Have you ever found yourself buying a gift for the sake of buying a gift? Reluctant to get in line days in ahead of time? Did you get up at 3 a.m. only to find the store was sold out of the item you wanted?  Shopping locally at small businesses provides you with unique gifts for your loved ones, and is the best way to build a stronger more prosperous community.  

Shopping local helps grow your community’s economy.

According to the American Independent Business Alliance (AIBA), when you shop local, approximately 48% of the cost of your purchase is recirculated back into the local economy. When you shop at a chain store, that number drops to only 14%. Instead of taking your hard-earned dollars to a billion-dollar chain store, think about how beneficial it would be to invest them in your local economy and help support a small business owner’s family. We can all agree that every dollar helps, especially around Christmas time.

Shopping local boosts job growth in your community.

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Let’s face it – small business is, quite frankly, big business. According to a study by Michigan State University, small local businesses are the largest employers nationally, creating two out of every three new jobs, and employ 52 percent of the nation’s employees. Since 2003, small businesses have added 5.1 million new jobs to the economy. So when you shop local, you create job stability for current working citizens in your community, as well as opening the door for more local hiring opportunities. And what better way to celebrate Christmas and the coming new year than with a reliable job that’s close to home?

Shopping local gives your community’s artists and vendors exposure.

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Small communities are often full of incredibly talented artists who can’t afford shop space until their business takes off, leading them to partner with local businesses to sell their products at a storefront. So when you shop local, you give those craftspeople the exposure and funding they need to grow their business. Picture giving your mom the gift of a handmade wreath, piece of jewelry, or painting she’s always talked about this Christmas. She’ll feel extra special knowing you got her something personalized that just can’t be found anywhere else!

Shopping local shows appreciation for area farmers and the environment.

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Local farmer’s markets are found to have a positive effect on total agricultural sales across the country, according to EcoWatch, an environmental news outlet. Plus, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) advises that because food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate (requiring the use of large amounts of fossil fuels which causes air pollution and trash buildup from extra packaging) it’s actually more environmentally friendly to shop for your food locally. So every time you support your local farmers market or grocer, the farmers will thank you. An added bonus is being able to personally thank the farmer who grew your food, and isn’t expressing gratitude what the holidays are all about?

Shopping local means giving back to charities in your community.

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) conducted a survey last year and found that 75 percent of small business owners donate some portion of their profits — about six percent on average — to charitable organizations each year. Many times, those charities are found right in your community. So every time you shop local, a portion of your dollars may also be donated to a local charity, especially helpful during back-to-school time and the holidays.

Shopping local delivers the best customer service.

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When you buy local, you experience the perk of seeing your salesperson face-to-face, to help you with future orders or to customize an order you’ve already placed with them. With many chain stores, you won’t get that level of personalized, tailored-to-you service. You may be directed to an online portal or phone recording, warning you that hold times are “longer than usual,” which is enough to make you want to throw your phone at the wall, and you don’t need that kind of stress during the holidays. In addition, many local business owners have personal connections between each other, allowing them to deliver you exclusive deals and recommendations for other needs you may have. And who doesn’t love a good deal around the holidays?

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