Imagine a man or woman making his or her way down a bustling December street – arms overburdened with a plethora of perfectly wrapped packages while snow gently falls and the jangle of silver bells fills the background. The picturesque scene could be neatly placed in countless classic holiday films.
Of course, that scenario is a bit too polished. As anyone who has steeled their will and patience to enter the fray of holiday shopping can attest, the reality of mingling with your fellow frenzied buyers would be a more appropriate fit in a Coen brothers film.
Yet whether you brave the huddled hordes or prefer to perform your holiday shopping sitting in front of the computer in your pajamas, one thing is certain: For many locally owned small retailers, this is the most important time of the year for the bottom line.
It’s something to take into serious consideration because shopping with local independent storeowners, in a roundabout way, pays some extensive dividends for you as a conscientious community member. Making the decision to shop locally is reaffirming your dedication to, and investment in, your fellow residents and their commitment to enhancing quality of life in our own backyard. The results don’t simply serve as a benefit to an individual store owner. Rather, it creates a cyclical stream of reward throughout an entire community.
By frequenting our independent entrepreneurs, you’re investing in yourself by keeping the community in which you live economically viable. Varying studies have shown that anywhere from 48% to 73% of each dollar spent locally remains in the local economy.
You can expect better service, more attention to detail and a more knowledgeable staff from a local business. This is their lifeblood and they are going to develop personal relationships with their valued clientele. You will matter to them – not just during the holidays.
Local stores give a community an individuality that can’t be found or replicated anywhere else. Shopping at local businesses not only supports that concept, but it also helps encourage it to bloom.
A small retail establishment is likely going to have fewer than 20 employees; however, that small package packs a powerful punch. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council said shops with fewer than 20 workers made up 89% of the businesses in the nation. That’s a lot of jobs and opportunities created by your support.
There is a lot that can be said for the selection and convenience that comes from a large one-stop shop. But I still believe there is room and an audience for everyone. A diverse public marketplace spurs competition and increases consumer choices.
Plus, sometimes the most well-received gifts are the unique, off-the-beaten-path, one-of-a-kind items that you’re far likelier to find at a small business. In addition to the gift itself, they tend to come with some of the best stories too.