Shop Small this Holiday Season and Support Local Businesses
This week, as we alternate our time between putting up Christmas trees and scouring the grocery stores for Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, retailers and small businesses are already thinking beyond the big meal. Because once the plates are put away and the leftovers are sealed in casserole dishes, it’s time for the “Big 3” days of holiday shopping. We all know the drill that has become routine in recent years– Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
If you’re a fan of Black Friday, you probably get an adrenaline rush plotting out your route and snagging the “must have” toy or big bargain. This year supply chain issues and product shortages, along with lingering COVID concerns and staffing problems, mean that Black Friday will look different than it did a few years ago. Some people have already finished much of their holiday shopping, buying early to avoid the disappointment of empty shelves.
And of course Cyber Monday is the day of shopping convenience – simply browse, scroll, click, add to cart, choose shipping and payment and there you go. You’ve checked off some names from your gift list without any human interaction!
And then there’s Small Business Saturday, with an entirely different focus and a totally different experience. American Express founded the program in 2010, to help its small business accounts gain customers and increase sales. They chose a weekend that is synonymous with shopping and threw down the gauntlet with this challenge: Shop Local. Shop Small. Support Small Business. Each year thereafter, small businesses have joined the national effort to gain community support and reclaim their own share of the consumer dollar from Big Retail.
When we shop local we are helping our friends and neighbors create a robust community that results in better tax revenues and even real estate values.
Last year more than ever, people recognized the vital part that small businesses play in their cities and towns. While Amazon and Walmart became bigger and stronger, independently owned restaurants and retailers struggled to survive the pandemic amid shutdowns and restrictions. When states began to lift restrictions and businesses reopened, their communities responded with support and new awareness. Some people pledged to patronize restaurants more often while others made an effort to do more of their shopping at locally owned retailers. The result was that many enjoyed a busy holiday season and strong 2021.
You may have seen the statistics about money spent locally, but the numbers bear repeating. This year, when consumers spend $100 at a chain store, only about $13 stays in the local community. When that same $100 is spent at a local business, about $48 stays in the community. And every $10 million spent at local businesses creates 57 jobs – that same amount spent at Amazon.com creates just 14 jobs, and those jobs are not in our hometown. When we shop local we are helping our friends and neighbors create a robust community that results in better tax revenues and even real estate values. And let’s not forget that our small businesspeople are quick to support local causes and join charitable organizations.
This holiday season, do yourself a favor and discover what local shops in the Mid-Ohio Valley have to offer
And so again this year, people are taking the pledge to Shop Small and making plans for Saturday. What better day to discover the unique products and friendly customer service at our local merchants and small businesses? If Friday’s frenzy of buying leaves you feeling tired and jaded, Small Business Saturday offers a refreshing break. Step into any small business in the Mid-Ohio Valley and you’ll be greeted warmly and treated like a welcome guest. The owner is often on site, ready to assist and answer questions. When you shop small, the experience is an added value that is priceless.
Across the country, struggling malls are trying to shed their generic image and reinvent themselves as a “main street” experience. But we already have that authentic experience, in Marietta and small towns everywhere. This holiday season, do yourself a favor and discover what local shops in the Mid-Ohio Valley have to offer. You’ll find a wide array of unique, quality items – some locally made or artisan crafted – helpful staff, and affordable prices. Shopping small does not require spending more.
Can’t make it to Small Business Saturday? In Marietta, the day is just one event in a full schedule of Hometown Holiday events. Throughout the season you can enjoy a parade, tree lighting, Tour of Lights, Loft Tour and other family friendly activities guaranteed to spark your holiday spirit. Check the online calendars of Marietta Main Street and the Washington County CVB to see a complete list.