With the holidays just around the corner, many of us have started our holiday shopping, or at least begun contemplating the gifts we want to share with the important people in our lives.
While large chain stores and Amazon make the shopping process convenient and affordable, there are even more benefits to turning to small business for your holiday gifting needs. From enhanced customer service to supporting your community and local economy, here’s why you should be shopping small business this holiday season.
Supporting your community
Shopping small business is BIG for the community. First off, it helps provide jobs for your community (small businesses have created over 66 percent of all new jobs since 1995). It also ensures that your dollars stay in your local economy, rather than being siphoned off to corporate entities. It’s estimated that small businesses return three times as much money per dollar back to the local community than their chain counterparts.
Small businesses also tend to be involved in communities beyond just providing goods or services. Supporting local businesses indirectly puts money into community events, sports teams and fundraisers that are often sponsored by these businesses. Likewise, business owners often become mentors and decision-makers in the community, too, working with local governments to make improvements that benefit all.
Unique items & services
Sure, you can find nice holiday presents at the nearest department store, but you certainly won’t find anything unique there. No one wants to give a Christmas gift (or receive one, for that matter) that can be purchased everywhere.
Bypass the mass-produced candles and ties and bath sets this year. Wow your loved ones with a truly one-of-a-kind gift from a small business.
Ethical manufacturing and sourcing
While chain retailers often win on price points and have consistency that customers expect, it’s hard to ignore the countless reports of unfair working conditions in many of their factories.
While not true in every case, smaller businesses generally have a shorter manufacturer-to-consumer journey (Gachi, for example, sources directly from our farmers), meaning there is more transparency in the ingredients, materials and source of the products you buy.
Highly personalized customer service
Good customer service can be hard to find in general, but it’s especially lacking during the holidays when retail employees are stretched thin. Small businesses can offer a more enjoyable shopping experience that allows time for more thoughtful browsing and exploring. Also, small-business employees often have more knowledge of the products and services they’re selling than their counterparts at larger retailers.
Small business offers a more personalized experience, as well. Many small business owners fill every role in their business, including customer service. Without the layers of corporate policy, they can bend their own rules. Good ones will bend over backward for every customer, as every customer matters when you’re a small business.
Preserve community charm
Every town in the U.S. has a Walmart and a McDonald’s. But these brands do not make a community what it is.
When you support small business, you’re helping to protect your town’s unique charm and keep the local market both flourishing and diverse.
How you can support small business
As you set out to battle the holiday shopping crowds and land online deals (hello, Black Friday and Cyber Monday), consider spending a little more time to find and support independent local retailers and ecommerce stores by:
- Supporting Small Business Saturday. This annual holiday was created to #ShopSmall, to show support of small, independent businesses and call attention to the valuable contributions they make to their communities and the economy. Swing by or click to your favorite small business to support and celebrate all that they do.
- Hit your local holiday markets to complete your holiday shopping list. Check local publications, listing and Facebook events to explore markets in your area.
- Treat yourself! Just because it’s the season for giving doesn’t mean that you can’t not gift yourself. Visit locally-owned retail shops to browse and discover new brands that could turn out to be your new favorites.