The holiday season is approaching, and many of us are in the midst of preparations for holiday celebrations. We have lengthy shopping lists and wonder how to finish everything on time. Online shopping and big box stores offer convenience and discounts, but local vendors have much to offer, and shopping locally for goods and services is growing in popularity every year.
There are many great reasons to shop locally, and here are just a few of them.
Support the Local Economy
When you support local businesses, your money stays in your community, supporting small business owners. Shopping at local branches of national chain stores does mean that a small part of that money stays in the community as employee wages, but a higher portion of the amount spent at local-owned businesses stays here. Their profits and wages continue circulating in the community as they carry on their usual activities – buying food and other products and paying for services like daycare.
You also help to create local jobs as successful businesses grow and hire more employees whose wages contribute to the local economy. Local businesses are more invested in their community and often are more invested in community-building efforts and donations to local charities.
When local businesses thrive, they can grow and create local jobs and are committed to keeping them in the local area. This growth can stimulate interest in entrepreneurship, leading to more local businesses, employment, and strong communities.
Find Unique, Creative Gifts
We want the gifts we give to friends and family to be thoughtful and reflect our bonds. With local vendors, you can benefit from the creativity and ingenuity that they put into their goods and services.
Rather than giving the same gift that a thousand others have chosen, you can find unique items you can’t find anywhere else. With locally created gifts, you can look for personalized products specifically with the person that you are buying for in mind. Craft fairs are common at this time of the year and are a wonderful place to look for Christmas gift ideas.
Locally produced and handmade items are often of much higher quality than mass-produced items, and good word of mouth can lead to future sales. As more people hear from satisfied customers, this exposure leads to repeat and increased sales, helping local entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
What to get the person who has everything? Quite a few of us have a few people like that on our list. You can support local charities and simultaneously care for that hard-to-buy-for person. Consider donating to a local charity in someone’s name. If we think outside the box by giving experiences rather than physical things, there are a lot of choices. Gift certificates for dinners out, live shows, and spa experiences are but a few ideas.
Better Customer Service, Better Shopping Experience
When you buy from a local business, you’ll usually see a level of personal service that you seldom see at big box stores or online. Their businesses are often their creative outlets and an extension of themselves. They have dedication and passion that shines through, and they take pride in knowing their customers are pleased with their purchases. They want you to be satisfied and, hopefully, you’ll be a return customer and recommend you to friends and family.
When a local business doesn’t carry the product you’re looking for, don’t be surprised if they recommend another company in the community that can help you. Local business owners often connect with other businesses and cooperate to provide overall customer satisfaction.
Businesses that work together in this way help each other’s companies grow, inspire others to take a chance on their dreams and become small business owners themselves.
Shopping Local for Food
There is no question buying locally-produced food is excellent for families, local farmers, and the local economy. Buying from local sources stimulates businesses and generates revenue in our local communities.
The shorter the distance your food travels from its producer, the better it is for the environment, lessening the amount of fossil fuels required for food to reach your table. In-season local produce will likely be fresher and tastier on your table.
Wrapping It Up
Buying from local businesses makes sense, not just during the holidays but all year round. So, take a break from online shopping and big box stores and find out what treasures are available from businesses right here in your community. Get out there and see what unique and unusual gift ideas you can find.
And Happy Holidays to everyone!