Posted by Peter Dougherty on November 23, 2015
We often associate the holidays with the mall. It’s where we get our picture with Santa, where we buy our presents, but why? We like to get everything in one place, the convenience factor, and we like deals and sales, maybe even more than the products themselves. It is another ritual of the season. But what if we shift just 10% of our holiday shopping to local businesses? What if we thought more consciously about our shopping behavior to support our local community?
The cliché of rooting for the underdog is distracting when it comes to the actual tactile benefits of supporting small business. Instead of talking about how during the upcoming season of giving one should champion the good ol’ mom and pop stores, it is necessary to discuss how during the most consumer-oriented time of the year we can spend our money in a way that can directly benefit our community by restructuring the marketplace in a more sustainable way.
A constant critique of the season is that it has become too commercialized, that it has strayed away from the values of love and family. What if we told you that there is a way to spend money that gives back to your community? Statistically, if we all shifted just 10% of our holiday spending to our local shops, we would single-handedly create thousands of more jobs in our community and create an influx of millions of dollars into our local economy. Isn’t that a win-win?
So this brings us to Small Business Saturday, appropriately the day after Black Friday, started by American Express in 2010. It is a healthy reminder as we enter into the holiday season to be more conscious of the choices we make in how we spend our money, because it DOES matter; not in the abstract, but in cold hard numbers. Recovering from recession, advancing further into a new millennium, buying local is a lifestyle choice promoting sustainability. Last year, a record breaking $14.3 billion dollars were spent at small business around the country as people came out to support their local communities. It isn’t a matter of convenience or sentimentality, though the mom and pop stores are great. There are more benefits to going to our Mom and Pops that far surpass their charm, the scented candles and the friendly face behind the counter. Shop small. Shop local. And we can all make a difference.