Shopping Small Helps Us All
The holidays are upon us. It’s time to start making lists and setting shopping budgets, knowing for certain we will exceed them well before Christmas. We can always make a New Year’s resolution to rid of that debt we accumulated in the last 45 days, right? By mid-December, we’ve purchased gifts for Dirty Santa at work, the ornament swap with our church group, a gift exchange with college friends and something for the relative we barely know. No matter how long your list becomes, consider this simple chant for the holidays – shopping small helps us all.
Next week is Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday, the biggest day for local shopping this year. And while the name of the day may give us the warm and fuzzies, the convenience of Amazon can often overpower our commitment to local business.
The shop small message is so much more than a trending hashtag. It affects every day of the year for the local business owner and the community where the store is located. Local shopping releases a domino effect that touches families, schools and political decisions in our very town. Here are a few key ways your local purchase makes a difference in Laurel, Jones County and the State of Mississippi.
It boosts our economy.
Locally-owned businesses generally consider domestic manufacturers before outsourcing overseas. In fact, many of the businesses in our town carry American-made, Mississippi-made and Laurel-made goods. Just last week, I saw three social media posts from different businesses here in Laurel showing off their selection of Jones Bones, dog treats made locally by Rena Register. It made me so happy to see business owners get excited about supporting one another. And even if what we buy from local stores isn’t made in Laurel, it’s highly likely it was made in a town just like Laurel. Supporting our neighbors is important, too.
It employs our people.
Making one purchase locally can impact multiple people in our community. From makers like Rena in my example above, to the employees who work for the business itself, we need thriving businesses that can support and employ locals. The extra effort we make to buy from a business a few blocks away means our neighbors, family and church friends have job security. Local businesses depend on us to show up, both on Small Business Saturday and every other day of the year.
It Builds Our Community
The last time your child had a baseball team to sponsor, who offered their support? Most likely, it was a local business owner. The businesses in this community support us, our kids, school functions and raffles. They serve as drop-off locations for collecting donated items for those in need, and they help us spread the word about causes and events. They are an enormous part of what makes our community tick.
Whether it’s a small town or a big city, there’s always that building considered to be an eyesore. Thankfully, we are blessed to have a some great people in this town that care deeply about revitalizing abandoned buildings. More often than not, these “eyesores” were once local businesses. If a business is left unsupported, it cannot thrive. Yet, if we support local businesses, more will come, and we’ll have the luxury of a variety of options when we shop.
If it’s the convenience of Amazon that keeps you on the couch, let me offer a few resources for you. The Jones County Chamber of Commerce is making the holidays easy for us by offering a local shopping guide at www.jonescounty.com. Also, laurelmainstreet.com and www.shop16th.com offer a list of businesses who would love for you to shop with them during the holidays.
Go ahead and use the hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday if it makes you happy. But, most importantly, when you look at your shopping list, challenge yourself with making every purchase on the list a local one.
Written by Laura Johns at The Small Town Creative.