- Business and Employment
Five Reasons to Shop Local on Small Business Saturday
Forget about fighting the crowds at the large national chain stores on Black Friday. Who wants to wait in line in the dark and cold for the big box store to open, only to be elbowed out of the way as an over-zealous shopper snatches up the last Xbox One Console? Wait until Small Business Saturday and start your holiday shopping on a more joyful note.
The seventh annual Small Business Saturday takes place on November 26, 2016, the day after Black Friday. It's a day dedicated to supporting small businesses during the biggest retail weekend of the year. Celebrate the day by supporting your community's small businesses. You'll have a better shopping experience, help fuel the local economy, and find unique and special gifts for everyone on your list.
Here are five reasons you should support local businesses this holiday season:
1. You'll direct dollars into the local economy.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of a community. The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy reports that small businesses employ nearly half of all American workers and play a critical role in creating new jobs. Small businesses were responsible for 65% of all new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.
When you shop small businesses, your dollars are used to pay their employees, who in turn spend them in local grocery stores, shopping centers, and auto dealerships. As more money is pumped into the local economy, more jobs are created and the tax base grows.
2. You’ll have a better, more personalized shopping experience.
Local retailers tend to place a greater focus on customer service. They rely on repeat business to succeed and will make the extra effort to ensure you'll come back. Small business owners develop ongoing relationships with their customers based on trust and quality service. When merchants know their customers and understand their needs, the customer benefits with a better shopping experience.
Small businesswoman Lisa Barillas, co-owner of Lyla’s Boutique, a women's clothing store with locations in Clear Lake, Ames, and Cedar Falls, Iowa, echoes these observations. "Local businesses are staffed by local residents, your friends and neighbors," Barillas points out. "You get better services from people you know and who know you."
Like other small business owners, Barillas and her partner, Twyla Tindall, make customer service a priority at their stores with special events and discounts at holiday time and all year long. It's not uncommon for either of them to hand-deliver an item from one of their stores to another to satisfy a customer request, going far beyond the level of service available from a large national retailer.
3. Shopping locally reduces the environmental impact of your purchases.
Local businesses are more likely to source goods and services from other local businesses. This reduces the distance a product travels before it reaches the consumer, saving gas and creating less pollution. Local retailers tend to locate in central locations, minimizing urban sprawl and habitat loss, unlike their big box counterparts that build on the outskirts of town. Customers who shop locally use less gas to reach their destinations and contribute less to traffic congestion.
4. Small businesses provide unique shopping experiences that set a community apart and provide greater choices for consumers.
Walk into a Best Buy or Wal-Mart anywhere in the United States and it will look and feel just like any other Best Buy or Wal-Mart, with the same merchandise located in the same aisles. Take a strip mall of chain stores from Cleveland and plop it down in the middle of Houston and no one would know the difference. Resist the homogenization of America this holiday season by seeking out one-of-a-kind gifts from one-of-a-kind stores.
By shopping locally, you help to preserve a community's distinct character and charm while finding unique gifts for your friends and loved ones. Over the long-term, everyone benefits. Diversity in the marketplace leads to more choices for consumers and more competition leads to lower prices.
5. Small business owners are more invested in the community.
Local businesses are owned by people who live in your community. "A greater share of hometown retailers stay in town," says Jim Gossett, Executive Director of the Carroll, Iowa, Chamber of Commerce. "It’s a good feeling to purchase from a local store owner who you will see out in the community at church, ballgames, or in your neighborhood."
As members of the community, local business owners are more invested in the community’s future. They donate more to local charities than non-local owners. They support community events and projects. Reward them for their support by supporting their businesses.
According to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, three out of 10 new small businesses fail within two years and only half survive five years. By shopping locally, you can help to ensure the success of small business owners who are a part of your community. As Gossett urges, "Shop in the name of love for local merchants!"
Take the Small Business Saturday Pledge
- Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday® is a day to support small business owners, help fuel the economy, and invigorate communities across the country. If millons of Americans shop small, it will be huge.