Small Business Saturday: Why Should You Support Local?

Shopping local benefits the community in a variety of ways.

The holidays are approaching like a freight train, closing in at full speed, a terrifying reminder that you’ve procrastinated on your Christmas shopping (again).

You want to find something unique to wrap for your mom this year, but the malls are crowded, their brand-name stores selling out of all your ideas and you’re running out of inspiration.

Take heart — local shops are a great place to snag a few one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones, and the benefits that they pose last all year.

  1. Small business is big business.

It’s easy for the meaning and beauty of the holiday season to get lost in all the commotion of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday is different.

Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday celebrates the things that matter— relationships, intentionality and the livelihood of those we cross paths with every day, creating a ripple effect that touches the whole community and beyond.

Forbes Brand Contributor Lisa Whitman said, “Products from local artisans or producers allow consumers to share the special culture or characteristics of a local area with friends and family around the globe.”

  1. It makes a positive contribution to your local economy.

According to Entrepreneur, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 is recycled back into the community, whereas with a non-local business, only $43 of every $100 stays local.

Aside from funding employees’ paychecks, these dollars go toward acquiring supplies from other local vendors, covering a percentage of local taxes and contributing to local causes and charities.

Small business purchases ensure the livelihood of the community by fostering growth on more than just the obvious level.

Local entrepreneurship is a network — a web of artisans and craftspeople  dedicated to making their part of the world a better place. They support one another and, often, their community involvement spans beyond the provision of goods and services — many of them sponsor community events, sports teams and other noble endeavors, bolstering a relationship-based economy.

“As entrepreneurship grows, you see people who are more deeply committed to their communities showing up in more ways than just running a business,” Amy Hartzler, director of communications for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, said .

  1. You get to know the people behind the product.

Small business purchases give you opportunities to form connections you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

Because of their roots and personal investment in the community, local business owners provide more personalized customer service and go above and beyond to ensure their customers are cared for and satisfied.

“Every single customer matters when you’re small,” said Dayna Winter, content marketer for eCommerce platform Shopify.

And, let’s be honest, there are few things sweeter than the barista at your favorite coffee shop knowing your order (and your name) by heart.

  1. It preserves your community’s uniqueness.

Local businesses add a little extra flair and flavor to the community. They keep things interesting by fostering diversity and complimenting  the rich history and culture of a given area.

Without its corner boutiques, artisan shops and mom-and-pop diners, downtown Lynchburg would be a ghost town rather than the hub of color, character and charisma it’s known as today.

These unique places offer equally unique products — delicious hors d’oueveres made with local ingredients and quality items (often handmade).

No matter where you go, you won’t find anything exactly like it — that’s the beauty of local entrepreneurship.

Skip the crowds at the mall this holiday season and shop local — even the smallest purchases make a big impact in your community.

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