holiday gift guide 2020

When shopping local means everything

This is how you keep your neighbors afloat

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Really, it was just a Facebook thing, Lori Schneider said.

One of those posts that everyone passes on—a bit of inspiration to start your day off right. 

But the message resonates these days. It went something like this:

I would like to buy as many gifts as I can from Facebook pages this year! I would love to buy from my friends, as I know how much every sale helps.

Whether it’s makeup, handbags, jewelry, small goods, pampering products, kitchen gadgets, clothes, photography, art, flowers—why not buy from those we know? I have several friends who have their own businesses. We all have goals that we are trying to reach... paying off bills, saving up for something special, supporting families as a full time job...

Let’s help each other out!

Maybe you’ve seen one, maybe you’ve cut-and-pasted and passed it on, too.

“It’s just about doing gift giving that would help individuals,” Schneider said.

She sells Pampered Chef products and is impassioned about the company and the items she sells.

Whether you know a small business owner, someone planning a yard sale, or someone who has an Etsy shop, it’s more important now than ever to buy from them if you can. Where you target your dollars can keep your neighbors fed, can keep people in work.

You can make a difference.

Helping our small businesses

This includes the really small ones.

Some make art and sell it. Some are doing repair work. Some have regular yard sales.

And, of course, there are so many small brick-and-mortar shops here just trying to keep going. Some have opened online stores.

Retail spending has rebounded, says the US Census Bureau’s tracker of retail sales, back up to more than $500 for the month of August. Toy company Mattel’s stock prices are up, which is promising for the holiday season. But the threat of more lockdowns and the fear of a resurgence of the coronavirus (along with the flu) has people worried.

And unemployment, for September, is 7.9 percent nationwide.

If you have the money to spend, you can use it to help people we know, like in the Facebook post.

Our local businesses

We sing praises for our small businesses, the mom-and-pop stores that line our Main Streets. But then when push comes to shove, or we want something specific, we tend to head online to a big retailer or in-person to the big-box store. 

Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, really drives this point home.

On www.communitybusinessfinance.com, Bill Ebersole lists 10 reasons to shop small... which, here, translates into shopping local, too.

Among his points:

  • “For every $100 spent at a small business, $66.53 stays in the community.”
  • Our local business provide jobs.
  • Buying local keeps the money in the neighborhood.
  • Local business owners care what decisions are made here. They’re involved in the community.
  • Products are often locally sourced.
  • Customer service is more personal, especially if you keep going back. The business owners know you and know what you like.

And as you’re looking at shops, don’t forget the tiny ones.

Buying your joy

You might still find a yard sale. Or maybe one of those roadside pop-ups, open for just a few months out of the year. Don’t forget to stop and look; you never know what you might find!

If you know someone who sells art or handcrafted items, if the work appeals, please consider a purchase. In these days, when others can easily copy your work that then turns up, unattributed, at big-box stores or on large sites—few things can help our local artists, Abby Glassenberg wrote recently for the Craft Industry Alliance:

“Pour your energy into loving your customers. Show them how special your product is and how different it is from that imitation big box stuff. Keep innovating to delight them. What you have that the big box can never have is your story. You are a maker, a person with ideas, and a relationship with your customers. As Lilla Rogers says, people buy your joy.”

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