The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the opportunity to shop small at local businesses.
Maybe you love the unique Christmas gifts you can find at mom and pop stores. Maybe it’s how local business owners greet you with a smile. Or maybe you just prefer to avoid crowds at large chain stores when shopping for the holidays. The fact is, you're not alone. In 2018, American consumers reported spending nearly $18 billion on Small Business Saturday1, the Saturday after Thanksgiving devoted to supporting small businesses.
But what are the benefits of shopping small? And why should we put shopping local on our holiday to-do lists? We’ve gathered the top reasons below.
The benefits of shopping small
It keeps money in your community. Here’s an interesting fact about shopping small: When you spend $100 at a local business, $68 of it stays in your community. Spend $100 at a big-box retailer, and only $48 stays in the local economy. Those dollars add up. Whether you’re purchasing unique holiday gifts or household basics, money spent at mom and pop stores generates 3.5 times more wealth than shopping at large national chains.2
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 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.
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.
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 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.
There’s no shortage of reasons to shop small
And the more you do it, the more likely you are to inspire others to shop local, too. If you don’t already support local small businesses, Small Business Saturday is a great time to start.
1. “The Story of the Shop Small® Movement.” AmericanExpress.com. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/about?linknav=us-loy-nav-aboutshopsmall (accessed October 9, 2019).
2. Salguero, Michael. “Why Buying Local Is Worth Every Cent [Infographic].”HuffPost.com. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-buying-local-is-worthb4310520 (accessed October 9, 2019).
3. “Why Local Matters.” BeALocalist.org. https://bealocalist.org/why-local-matters/ (accessed October 9, 2019).