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Shopping Small for the Upcoming Holiday Season

By: Justin Kresse

Amazon’s “Prime Day” may have already occurred on October 13 and 14, but you can be sure that big businesses are still planning ahead for Black Friday on Nov. 27 and Cyber Monday on Nov. 30 – all in an attempt to take your hard-earned money.

However, especially with Covid-19 and the effect that it has had on the economy, I urge you to consider shopping small this holiday season, and here are a few tips and tricks for how to support small businesses and still get some great presents for your family and friends.

One of the greatest benefits of shopping at smaller, local businesses is that you get a more unique and personal experience. The items for sale at some local shops can be distinctive and sometimes even handmade – unlike the machine-made goods you can buy at a larger business. They are also sometimes locally sourced, which means that your purchase helps both the local business and the person who originally sold them the goods.

By shopping locally, you will also be helping out your community rather than giving money to a multi-billion-dollar company. Around 67 cents out of every dollar spent at local businesses was found to stay within the local economy, according to American Express. Also, 44 cents were said to go to the owners’ and employees’ wages. That means your money is going back into the local economy and helping other local businesses stay open.

However, in the digital age where anyone can order anything with the click of a button, sometimes taking the time to visit a store is difficult. Consider the short drive to a local shop – because that’s how you get more of a unique experience and great customer service.

There are also online alternatives where you can shop virtually from local businesses. Some local shops have storefronts on websites such as Etsy or even eBay. While this method of purchasing items isn’t ideal – both websites take a cut of the price of the item –it’s better than going onto Amazon and purchasing something, only to have your money go to a company that could care less.

Another alternative you might consider – especially if you are worried about Covid – would be to call the local business and ask whether they would allow you to order an item remotely and pick it up. If you do make a purchase at a local business and are satisfied with your experience, leave a positive rating for the business on Google or Yelp. Ninety-seven percent of people say that they have read online reviews of local businesses and 93 percent say that those reviews impacted the purchases they made. You might also consider creating a post on social media about the local business.

I know that spending more money on a gift when you know you could get it cheaper somewhere else can be difficult, so if you’re really tight on cash and need a great deal, look at your local thrift stores. I know that some people might not prefer used items, but thrift stores can have older items that are still in the box. There are also items like electronics that don’t really need to be new – they should work just as well used, and you can save a quick buck while still supporting local businesses.

Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 is another opportunity to get some great, one-day deals at your local shops. Instead of the terrible lines and proximity to a large number of people on Black Friday, wait a day and check out the Small Business Saturday deals that some of your local stores should have. There are also special events and offerings that happen on this day, so it can support your local stores and get a little extra out of it.

Shopping at small businesses is a great way to help out the people in your community. You’re not just helping the store owners. You’re helping the employees, the people who provide the goods to the store, and any local businesses that those people shop at.

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