This past weekend was Small Business Saturday – a time to focus on local-owned, small businesses in your community that you can support during the holiday shopping season. While I love shopping at the big box retailers and department stores – whether it be in person or online – there is something to be said for the personal, one-on-one service that comes from shopping at a local retailer.
As I’ve gotten older and become a small business owner myself, I’ve recognized the importance of supporting locally owned and operated businesses in your community. And by community, I mean not only the geographic area where you live but the social community that you network in as well. I’m sure all of us know people that own small businesses – maybe not traditional brick and mortar businesses – but people that sell products or services that would be a perfect fit for someone on your holiday list this year.
Think about these three things when making your holiday purchases this year:
Are there unique business owners in my community that I can shop at?
Room 363 in Naperville is a perfect example of beautiful home décor and gift shop that has unique, original items at every price point. Owner Mark Norkaitis strives to build relationships with other local craft and design merchants to assemble several boutique-type shows during the year for the entire community to enjoy. His shop is great for hostess or unique teacher gifts! There are lots of other locally owners businesses that I love, scattered all over the suburbs. It’s a Bling Thing in Naperville, Delish Cakes in Bloomingdale and Banbury Fair in Bartlett are just a few.
Do I have friends that own businesses?
Almost all of us know someone with an at-home business that sells jewelry, nail care, skin care, essential oils, designer bags, food products, and so forth. These businesses have specials going on right now and are competing with the big box and department stores for your business too! And they have unique presents like cosmetic bags, custom crafts, bracelets or yummy bath products. Think outside of the box when it comes to gifts for teens, grandparents, teachers, friends, etc. Utilizing your friends and people in your networking community will likely guarantee you better service and selection than a big box retailer – and a present that is customized for your recipient.
How can I give back?
With the invention of #GivingTuesday following the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, charities want your dollars during the holidays too. Is there a way to patron an organization whose proceeds during the holidays are benefitting a local charity? What about getting your group of friends together and instead of having your big girls lunch, you volunteer at a food bank preparing meals beforehand? There are so many organizations that are looking for assistance during the holidays; it’s easy to find a way to help. Kids as young as five can volunteer at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora, and they are looking for people to pack holiday meals. Check with your local church for a list of families that are in need this holiday and get together with friends to adopt a family. Or two.
Continuing to use my dollars to support local business, friends with at-home businesses, and local charities and families in need, is of vital importance to me. How will you keep it local this holiday season?