Whether you are for another shutdown or not, you cannot ignore the fact that small businesses will be affected. It breaks my heart how things are turning right now, even when the holidays are coming, but this virus has not made it easy. For the last two years, I have tried to shop locally more than ever. I have started with clothing, accessories, and restaurants. If I had a ratio of how often I shop local versus buying from bigger companies, it would be a 40% to 60% ratio - simply because as a student, it is hard buying everything local. But, shopping local is crucial during this awkward time.
Begin by searching local shops that interest you in your hometown.
I started supporting locally with coffee shops. I love coffee, little shops, and this combination of supporting local felt nice. I started by supporting the shop in my hometown's downtown, then some in Kansas, and others around the city. Since I loved coffee so much, my second interest is fashion. This led me to start shopping locally at women's boutiques. I found three boutiques between Missouri and Kansas I often shopped at. After following them on Instagram, I found more and more, and soon I had found over 20 boutiques (online and in-person) that I would shop at. It feels so good to find places where you can find a little bit of everything. The greatest feeling for me is building that connection with the owners and employees. One of my top three boutiques - the staff knows me so well they send me DM's or rewards often to get me back in. It is a huge win-win for them and for you.
Like, comment, tag, and share their page to get others in the conversation.
Does anyone else remember the days where if there was a garage sale, there would be signs up two weeks beforehand to promote it? I sure do. But now that technology has advanced and communicating with others is faster than ever, so is sharing the word about a local business. Whenever I post anything about a local business, I try to write why I like them, who I would recommend the products to, and mention that it is a locally-owned business. This is so important to do for people who want to start small. I remember I started buying more graphic tees from a local boutique, then girls my age began asking me where I bought them. After a while, I was getting tagged (along with the business) about how I recommended their tees. I love how social media can bring others together.
Buy early when holidays come around and sign up for their emails or rewards program.
If you are an early Christmas shopper, this one definitely is easy for you to follow. But, not everyone can be prepared like those early shoppers. The great pro's for early shopping at a local store - since they order a smaller amount of shipment - is that you can get the best merchandise first. This is great if you are shopping for someone who likes unique things or if you want to go a little above and beyond with your gifts. Another pro for early shopping is that they usually have better deals than the big retailers. This year, I saw multiple boutiques do a mix of early Black Friday shopping and Christmas specials. It's a win-win for your budget and their business. Try it out this upcoming week for Thanksgiving or for any holiday season throughout the year.
Just remember when you support local and shop locally, your money goes towards your community, rather than a million-dollar company. Share the love with your friends and family. A small purchase is greater than you think.