by Stacy Ford, Extension Agent
With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start crossing people off your shopping list. Why not do that by supporting small businesses? Saturday, Nov. 28, is Small Business Saturday, and here are some ways to participate in your town.
Did you know that when you spend money locally a bigger percentage of that money goes back into the community through purchases to other local businesses, tax dollars and salaries versus money spent at a big box store?
Why shop local?
- Shopping local stores is more personal, they have a smaller staff and are more familiar with their inventory than a big box store and usually provide better customer service. Plus, it’s just nice to have someone know your name.
- Shopping small supports your community. Locally owned stores are the businesses that sponsor events, local schools, youth sports teams, fairs and festivals and make donations to local causes. The more support they receive from the community the more they’re able to give back to the community. Ever been to a little league baseball game? Those names on the front of the jerseys aren’t big box stores, they’re locally owned businesses you pass by every day.
- It’s less hassle than online shopping or going to big box stores, and it’s immediate. You don’t have to drive far, fight crowds, wait in long lines or pay for shipping.
Some ideas to shop small in even the smallest of towns:
- For the person on your list who has everything, consider purchasing a gift certificate to their local favorite coffee shop, beauty shop or even a local artisan’s shop.
- Maybe for some of the men on that list think about visiting your local hardware store, automotive shop or even a local craft brewery for some gift ideas.
- Visit a craft show or holiday bazaar. Often you’ll find unique handmade crafts, local cook books or locally made jams, jellies or soaps. These make great items to create a gift basket for someone on your list! These types of events are also a great way to support local nonprofits, churches or civic clubs.
- Consider visiting your local nursery or greenhouse and purchasing a plant or gift certificate for the spring planting season.
- Do you have a local theatre? If so, purchase a season pass, or for the kids on your list, movie tickets and gift certificates for popcorn.
Most of us will have family in for Thanksgiving so get out Saturday, walk off your binge eating haze and revisit your town. Make it a fun event, visit a local coffee shop for breakfast and go in some shops you’ve never visited before.