It's no secret that COVID-19 related closures and restrictions have impacted our small local businesses, creating hurdles like accessibility, ability to adapt, employment options, shipping delays, and product availability. While most businesses see an increase in sales this time of year, they may still be struggling to stay afloat.
With the holiday season now in full swing, it's more important than ever to keep our small businesses in mind when tackling our shopping lists. To do our part, we’ve compiled this list of 7 reasons why you should shop local this holiday season:
1. Support the Local Economy
When you shop locally, approximately 67 cents of every dollar ends up staying right in your community. Small business owners generally live in the same community their business is in, as do most of the employees.
Small businesses often purchase local goods and services to support and operate their own business and encourage employee spending in the community through buying meals, drinking coffee, shopping in the area after work on their way home, etc. Shopping local helps create a cash flow cycle that stays in the community.
2. Find Unique and Creative Gifts
Whether you’re shopping for that special person in your life or that friend who already has everything, finding a unique and meaningful gift at a chain store can be a challenge. When you shop locally, you might find fresh baking, handmade art or decorations, fun clothing, or other items you won’t find anywhere else. Besides being unique, the items you buy from local makers and shops are likely much higher quality than mass produced items in other stores.
3. Have a Better Shopping Experience
Local shops are often their owners’ creative outlets, their passions, and livelihoods. Their dedication and passion for their businesses often shine through in their quality, friendliness, commitment, and how they greet their customers.
Besides knowledgeable and helpful employees, many small businesses also offer a more relaxed, open shopping experience. Local stores are often not as busy as big chain stores, which means you are far more likely to get personal service. In a small business, you are more likely to get great advice or have someone help you find just the right gift or product for your needs.
If you prefer to shop online, many small businesses today have online shops and ordering, allowing you to shop from the comfort of your home with ease, while still supporting local.
4. Create Local Jobs
Local businesses don’t just create more jobs, they tend to create better jobs because the business owners themselves live in and are invested in the community. These small businesses often provide jobs to family members, friends, neighbours, and in some cases even provide jobs for those that might otherwise have difficulty finding employment, like those with a criminal record or stay at home parents or students with limited availability.
5. Invest in Local Entrepreneurship
In this day and age, entrepreneurs are becoming more and more commonplace with the draw of making your own hours, prioritizing family and mental health and financial freedom. When you shop at local businesses, you are supporting the goals and dreams of a community member. Helping a local business thrive gives hope to other entrepreneurs that if they open a business, they can also be successful.
6. Reduce Your Environmental Impact
Shopping local is better for the environment as it reduces the negative effects from the manufacturing and transportation of products. Small businesses also often use more environmentally friendly packaging, and less packaging as a whole, creating less waste.
7. The Happy Dance
We’ve all seen the post circulating on social media about how when you shop local, the shop owner does a happy dance? Well, it’s true! Buying from a small business helps the owners buy winter jackets for their kids, put food on the table and hire more employees. It also allows them to support local charities or sponsor the school’s sports teams. Supporting local means making others happy dance, in turn creating a happy, thriving community.
If you’re looking for some ideas on where to shop this holiday season, check out our LOCAL BUSINESS DIRECTORY! Here, we introduce you to some of our favourite small businesses in Manitoba, organized in a variety or categories like restaurants, clothing, art & décor, home & building, business services, and more.