Why shop anywhere else? We directly impact small independent businesses in our communities when we always shop at the big guy. Our local stores are in-need more now than ever, and that's where community and local business collide. There are plenty of reasons why you should choose local, particularly now, when their survival rests on your support.
Just because the holidays are over doesn't mean you should stop shopping local. We dive into three reasons why and a few ways how you can support the little guy.
Genuine Customer Service
This year has been difficult for everyone. Each with their own challenges. Local businesses suffered from lockdowns, restrictions, and of course, public fear. It was reported that businesses with under 100 employees saw a revenue decrease of 40 per cent in April 2020, compared to April 2019.
When you shop local, you feel a sense of belonging in your community. Often, community entrepreneurs and business owners go beyond your typical consumer-business relationship. Local business is built on passion, interest, and creativity. When you shop local, you're believing in someone's dreams and they're thankful for your support. It's an authentic experience, and they care about the community as much as you do.
Local business is in-tune with safety as much as everybody else.
When possible, shop online for local products. Your community businesses have adapted to serve their customers safely. Most have e-commerce sites offering delivery. Others offer curbside pickup. Try Shop App by Shopify to easily find your local online storefronts.
Defines Community Identity
Ever lived in a neighbourhood because you loved how it felt? Neighbourhoods are defined by the atmosphere created through the types of local businesses in the area. Some are old-fashioned mom-and-pop types. Others are trendy boutiques in upcoming areas with younger populations. Even smaller cities retain their feeling, their appeal, from the local businesses to the classic architecture where they're situated.
Don't forget the business owner is local too. They care about their neighbourhood, and they actively play a role in defining the idea of community through their business.
If you love where you live, support your community businesses. If your local business has gift cards available for purchase, this is a great way to show your support now, at a time they need it most. Use the gift cards for purchases later down the road. They make perfect gifts, and you're helping local businesses reach more customers.
Local Economy Cycle
Local business has a massive impact on local economy. When you purchase something from a local business, it's possible the goods are sourced from other local businesses. Your mom-and-pop pizza shop down the road purchase their tomatoes from local growers, who purchase their fertilizer from local farmers. When you're buying from a local business, the money goes back into your immediate community. In 2017, small to medium-sized businesses played a key role in the Canadian economy, accounting for about 90 per cent of the private sector workforce.
This year, restaurants were hit by economic uncertainty through pandemic restrictions and guidelines. As with other local businesses, they also had to adapt to serve their customers, and continue to make an income for operational costs.
If your neighbourhood favourite has adapted, they offer takeout, curbside pickup, and gift cards. When you do choose to order out, opt for your local family-owned restaurants. Purchase directly from the restaurant (when possible) instead of using third-party delivery apps, then you know the money is going directly to your local business and community members.
In Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, and Toronto, try Not Amazon, a curated list of local businesses and an easy way to discover local businesses to support.
No matter what's on your list, spark a little inspiration to shop local this holiday. You're helping keep local business alive, community identity blooming, and you'll receive a customer experience like no other. That should feel pretty good.