Why Shop Local for the Holidays
Starting tomorrow, November 1, we are encouraging you to shop small for the holidays. This doesn’t mean we’re suggesting you boycott large retail businesses. We’re just asking that you think about neighbor businesses as well and pledge to enjoy some of what they have to offer this season–whether that’s a cup of coffee or purchasing an item for a special someone. Small businesses provide a unique experience for their customers and if we don’t support them, we may lose that experience.
Here in Alameda, we have a wonderful program to help remind you to shop our businesses. It’s our Alameda gift card–Visit & Shop Alameda. It comes in several denominations and can be sent via email or text message. You spend it just like a gift card at our participating merchants. When you do, they know you’re supporting their efforts as a local business.
If you’re a merchant in Alameda, consider joining our shop local program and reaching a new audience. It’s an easy way to implement a gift card system. (Application is on the bottom of this page.)
Small businesses add flavor to our area. There is a sense of adventure when you explore a small business. You never know what beauties you’ll uncover or what scrumptiousness awaits. Sadly, that’s also why a lot of people choose to patronize chains. With chains, they know exactly what they’ll get and there’s a lot of comfort in that.
But comfort does come at a price and that price could be our community if you don’t shop local.
Large employers and chains are vital to our area, but this holiday season we’re asking you to support small business to help ensure they’re around in the coming years.
7 Reasons to Support Small Business This Holiday Season
- Small businesses need you. While SCORE advises that businesses should keep three to six months of operating reserves, most small businesses have 27 days’ worth. With inflation, rising costs, hiring issues, and a plethora of other challenges, that place our small businesses in a precarious position, where you spend your money this holiday could affect which businesses will be here in the new year.
- It feels good to shop local. Supporting small business feels good because you can see the impact. The smiles and gratitude you receive for shopping with a small business feel special. You can tell you’re making an impact and often they remember you when you return.
- Small businesses support your causes. Small businesses are the first ones you turn to when asking for support for your beloved causes from your kids’ sports to your favorite nonprofits. Their sponsorships improve the quality of life in the area. But they can’t sponsor your causes if they’re not in business.
- Small businesses answer your questions. Chatbots are great but they are programmed to respond literally to your questions. They do not anticipate needs or ask follow-up questions like small business owners and employees do. Sometimes the conversation that comes from speaking with small business professionals lead to other opportunities, interests, and stories. That’s less likely to happen with a chatbot or large-scale online retailer.
- Small businesses give you an experience. Shopping small is about the experience and holiday shopping provides some of the biggest highlights of the year with seasonal aromas, delightful demos, delicious tastes, and happy melodies. Twinkle lights make everything more festive. Even an amazing website can’t provide the same tantalizing shopping experience an in-person trip to your favorite small business can.
- Small businesses rely on your holiday spending. As many as 20% of small businesses rely on holiday sales to offset slower times during the year. If you don’t buy local during the holidays, it affects their future.
- You can be a gift-giving wizard. Times are tight right now and many of us are cutting back on what we’re spending this year so that we can cover rising costs in essentials. While it’s natural to look for the cheapest gift possible during these times, you don’t want to forgo the holiday smiles from the perfect gift just to stay in your budget. Many small businesses provide unique, thoughtful items that you can’t get in many places. You can spend less but give your special someone something that they’ll cherish.
Shopping small this holiday season is a big deal. These past few years have been hard on local businesses. With smaller operating reserves, rising costs and lower sales, they need you this year. And if you enjoy those small businesses, you know where you need to put your holiday dollars.