Now more than ever, your local community needs you. It's no secret that COVID-19 related closures and restrictions have impacted our country's many small businesses in numerous challenging ways. The global pandemic has thrown one too many hurdles in the path of nearly every small business owner, constantly testing their ability to profitably adjust their business model and keep their passion alive month after month.
With the holiday season coming into full swing, it's more important than ever to keep our small businesses top of mind when tackling our shopping lists. Sure, every television channel or social media you flip through right now is filled with catchy holiday advertisements from the chain stores, promising the biggest and best sales of the season. With the immense rise of online shopping (conglomerate Amazon) has helped us loose sight of those right here in our back doors.
While there's no arguing that online shopping can be convenient, what "warm and fuzzy" feeling do you get from that type of transaction? Does easiness trump the emotional benefits you'd feel from contributing to someone's livelihood during a terribly trying time by shopping local? The ability we all have to support our hometown's brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends — all the people who make our community a wonderful place to live — will always be worth the collective time and effort in our book. And here's why.
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 less than 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 during an ongoing pandemic.
Shopping local gives your community’s creatives much-needed exposure.
Our small community is 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 means healthier and more tasty food options.
Did you know that fruits and vegetables contain the most nutrition when they are ripe? According to Greenopedia, a healthy food blog, this means that by the time they travel across the country to your table, they’re depleted of the key nutrients they once had if bought at peak freshness from a local farmers market or supermarket. When you shop and eat locally, you’re getting a healthier and tastier version of the same product found at a chain store. Better believe your belly will thank you at next dinner when you’re feasting on fresh, roasted vegetables you bought from the farm up the road. Or look for restaurants that use local meats & produce, like Harvest.
Shopping local means you get personalized service and products.
Good customer service can be hard to find at the big chain stores during the holidays due to retail employees often being stretched too thin in their work schedules. Some of the biggest perks of shopping local are the personalized customer service and the unique, hand-crafted items you come across. Small business owners don’t build their own business from scratch just for kicks - they do it because they are passionate about keeping their products and services exclusive to their community. Many times, small business owners are able to craft and personalize a product just for you - a service that really comes in handy around the holiday season when you’re searching for one-of-a-kind gifts for the special people in your life (cue mom’s face when she sees her handmade wreath).
Shopping local means giving back to charities in your community.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) conducted a survey a couple years ago 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 the ongoing pandemic.
Shopping local delivers the best customer service.
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 when money might be tight?
Put your money where your home is.
If all of these convincing points weren’t enough to persuade you to shop local not only during the holiday season but year ‘round, consider this: Put your money where your home is. Whatever you consider to be “home” - a cozy one bedroom apartment, mom and dad’s guesthouse, or the place you spent years saving up for and finally own - put your money there. You live in a community full of hidden gems that need your support now more than ever. Help grow your community by shopping local and give the hard-working small business owners in your town the opportunity to thrive beyond the pandemic.
One of our favorite local shops is the wonderful Me&Co! Just look at these
$28.00, These adorable hand-painted ornaments and more custom gift and art work can be found at Me and Co Gift Shop | 7240 Kingston Pike #116, Knoxville, TN 37919