Buy Local, Especially This Time of Year

For most people, this time of year means frantically rushing to buy the perfect gift for someone they love. 

The key word there is frantic

The holidays are filled with extra activities for everyone, whether at school, work, or with family and friends. Add all that to the demands of a normal schedule, and there is a mad rush to get everything done in time so that the holidays can be enjoyed instead of dreaded.

One of the easiest ways to save time is to purchase gifts online. Big box retailers and e-commerce sites that sell everything imaginable make it easy to find the perfect gift and press a button to ensure the parcel arrives in time to wrap in decorative paper and add a bow.

While I wouldn’t discourage anyone from using this time-saving feature as needed, imagine if you could still accomplish your seasonal shopping and benefit your local community. What would buying locally, from an online e-commerce site (like The Gents Store, which features local businesses) or a brick-and-mortar storefront, do for you? More importantly, what would the community look like if there were no longer any local businesses to support?

Supporting The Community

Times are tight, especially for small businesses. As the US population has become increasingly more entrepreneurial, so has the probability that someone we know owns a business that provides goods or services. Most large conglomerates and corporations have sustained themselves through the current period of increased inflation. They have negotiating power that is leveraged to help control their costs.

A neighbor who owns a small leather-working business most likely has had a tougher go of it.

A dollar spent on a uniformly boxed gadget from a corporation based in California is a dollar spent that mostly benefits the corporation and its investors. Maybe even the state and city where it is located.

A dollar spent on a leather keychain from our neighbor in Texas benefits…our neighbor. Which, in turn, benefits the local market when that neighbor goes and purchases groceries. That dollar then gets spent when the market buys more goods from a local vendor. Who then donates a dollar to our local library, which we use when we take our kids to find a newly purchased book added to the stacks for us to be able to read. The dollar keeps giving to the people where it was first spent. Keeping your money local with local businesses helps you support them and your community. (If you need more persuasion it’s the perfect time of year to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and that scene.)

Giving Back to the Community

When local businesses benefit from increased spending, they don’t usually spend that increased profit on another vacation home in Aspen. Typically, that extra income goes into improvements for the business and its customers. However, how many local Little League teams have their uniforms sponsored by local businesses? A community-supported business supports its community. 

Growing The Community 

A benefit to supporting local businesses is that we can help grow local businesses. A growing business needs personnel, supplies, and capital. By supporting a local business we help them hire more people and buy more raw materials from other local businesses. When they need to increase space or production, they will reach out to a local investor for capital. Soon, our hometown will be known for these businesses which bring tourism and new citizens to enrich and improve our community.

When we do our holiday shopping this year, imagine the impact we can have by keeping our dollars with our local businesses. Buy a gift card from a local Gents Place club for the man in your life who likes to look and feel good. Support a company that sponsors the local soccer team. Keep your community strong by supporting the small businesses which are the lifeblood of a tight-knit community. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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