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The Importance of Supporting Small, Local Businesses During the Holiday Season

With the holiday season, comes a lot more shopping, whether it is for Christmas presents, corporate gifts or personal retail therapy – consumerism is at its peak during this time. There’s no doubt that this year’s holiday festivities will be vastly different to last year’s, due to stricter government regulations to help decrease COVID-19 surges. Office parties will now be virtual and many, like myself, would have to live with the sad reality of not being able to make annual treks back home to visit family.

Throughout this year and especially during lockdown, unemployment was at an all-time high. Many businesses suffered, especially smaller ones, after having to close their doors and reduce staff. According to an article by City News 1130, it’s estimated that one-in-seven small retailers across the country is at risk of closing before the end of the pandemic. This is one too many for an economy that is built on SMME (Small Medium and Micro Enterprises).

Therefore, the need for individuals and corporates to shop consciously is greater now more than ever.

I once read a meme that said “When you buy from a small “mom and pop” business, you aren’t helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college. This meme really resonated with me and now more pivotal than ever before.  

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is encouraging consumers to dedicate part of their spending for the holidays on local stores to support small businesses.

“Small firms play a really important role.  If we all spend a chunk of our holiday spending to support these businesses, they have a better chance at surviving the huge impact of the pandemic,” said President Dan Kelly, in the article.

Additionally, if each person spent $100 a year more on local businesses instead of chain stores, it would put an extra $3 million into our economy and create thousands more jobs every year.

So, whether you’re doing shopping or for yourself or your company, here are reasons why you should shop small:

  • You’ll find unique items (especially gifts!). Speaking of unique gifts, local businesses truly shine when it comes to holiday shopping. We don’t know how they do it, but small shops somehow always manage to find unusual gifts that friends and family love. Even better? When recipients unwrap your incredibly unique gifts, you can proudly declare you found them at boutique stores in your community.
  • It fosters a sense of community. The more you shop local, the more you’ll get to know your local merchants — and they’ll get to know you. There’s something nice about walking into a store where people greet you by name (not to mention provide exceptional service). Shopping small really does make you feel like part of the community. It’s something a big-box store, or online shopping, just can’t offer.
  • It lowers your carbon footprint. This is a benefit of shopping small you may not immediately think of but it’s a big one. Those of us lucky enough to be able to walk to local shops cut down on the use of cars and buses. Shopping locally also eliminates the carbon footprint of delivery and packaging materials associated with online shopping.
  • You’ll help keep your neighbors employed. Local businesses employ an estimated 77 million Americans, creating roughly two-thirds of all private sector jobs.3 Choosing to shop at a neighborhood store, during the holiday season and beyond, not only keeps local small businesses open, it helps all those workers stay employed. That’s definitely something to celebrate.
  • You’ll keep local businesses thriving. It’s a simple premise but one that we often forget: Spending money at local small businesses keeps them in business. Small businesses can’t survive, or thrive, without your support — not just on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the year.

(Excerpt taken from the website: OneMoreFinacial)

If purchasing from local stores are beyond your means, there are other ways one can assist local businesses namely:

  • Social media shoutouts are free. In an interview with NBC News, Larice Love, the founder of the vegan beauty brand LipLove, said: “With more businesses going digital and needing to build traction, ‘liking’, commenting, reposting, tagging us in your purchases and unboxing videos [on social media] really helps with engagement, which, in turn, leads to more visibility and sales.” Social media plugs are a free way to show your support and the payoff is almost instantaneous. “[Liplove] has seen a significant increase in engagement and shares as our customers began to promote our messages of love and empowerment to their networks during this season. This has caused a boost in not only traffic to our website that originated from social media, but also from organic search.”

Veruschka Mungroo| Senior Editor

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