If you found yourself going through the Walmart holiday gift guide, dog-earing the pages, clipping out recipes for gingerbread men and getting inspired about a home makeover – it’s okay, man, we all love Walmart! Many times I’ve stumbled into a Walmart at 11 p.m. looking for one thing, and come out with a great big cartful of goodies. That’s why what I’m about to say may seem a little bit crazy… This month, I’m going local. That’s right. When it comes to my holiday shopping – not to mention the regular products and services I use every day – I’m going to really make the effort this month to choose the small, family-owned businesses that make my community what it is. Nothing against Walmart (which itself is family-run, at least technically!) or any other big box store, online or bricks and mortar. I just like how I feel when I support local businesses. And I think you do, too.
When you learn about #supportlocal, you may never buy Big Box again. I love to buy croissants at this little place where the owner took the time to explain the origins of the pastry (an Austrian king’s snub of defeated Turks – who knew?). There’s nothing better than buying an absolutely fabulous product from someone you actually like. But we’re all busy; isn’t it more convenient to do everything online, at the mall, or the chain store? Maybe. But patronizing a locally owned business will help you reap these 5 rewards:
Great service. A local business owner is usually right there to help – and they’re passionate, experienced and knowledgeable about everything they sell. If it’s a creative service like graphic design or marketing, a local service provider can usually provide intelligent, responsive solutions fast – and you can connect with them in person if you want, instead of trying to explain a project to your Fiverr slave over a poor Skype connection.
Great selection. This might seem counter-intuitive, since big box stores have such a huge square footage – but all the merchandise is eerily the same. Sure, there’s a whole aisle just for cereal, if you like cereal made by the same 2 processed-food giants! Local stores actually have more variety and choice when it comes to products made by a diverse range of (ideally local) artisans, craftspeople, farms, etc.
Great prosperity. Are you a local entrepreneur, too? Spending money in your own community is a sure-fire way to make sure your money stays in the community and even goes right back atcha.
Great environmental practices. You probably don’t need to hop in the car to visit your local business district. All that walkability saves a fortune in carbon emissions and actual cash money.
Great character. This morning I overheard that a Starbucks and a Firkin were finally coming to the neighbourhood. She was super excited about their ‘good food’, preferring it to the locally owned bakeries and restos that also offer great food and just as importantly, are unique. Do you want to live in a recognizable place or do you want to live in a soulless, generic ‘hood' that could be anywhere?
One fast and easy way to #supportlocal2015 online. You can Like their Facebook page – and invite your friends to do the same. Here’s how:
In the Facebook search bar, type in the name of your local business and click on their page.
Like their page.
Click ‘Invite friends to like this Page’ and select friends you think would be interested, to Like the page as well.
Bonus points! Comment and engage with the business as well.
Here’s to supporting local this month and every month!