Close to Home: How to Support Your Favorite Small Businesses This Holiday Season

This year more than ever, small businesses are struggling to stay afloat in such a tumultuous and uncertain economy. It has been a challenging year for people globally, but as we enter the holiday season, it is important now more than ever to pay attention to those close to home. 


Nov. 28, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, has been dubbed Small Business Saturday. Each year, this day of national recognition falls on the last day of November and is supposed to encourage you to kick off your holiday season by shopping local. This holiday also counters Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages shoppers to resist buying from large retail and e-commerce stores during the holiday season.


If you are fortunate enough to be financially stable this holiday season, you should consider shopping from local businesses to ensure they have the stability to put presents under the tree and food on the table for the upcoming season. Here are some ways you can help out:


1. Visit brick-and-mortar stores to drive traffic to businesses. When I visit local Main Streets, it can be somewhat intimidating to figure out which stores are the best of the best. Window shopping is common on these business boulevards, so driving in traffic to a business makes it seem a leg above the rest. If you can do so in a COVID safe way, be sure to visit your favorite small business’s brick-and-mortar stores. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, seeing customers in the store is a good indicator to window-shoppers that it’s a fun and inviting place to be. If a store is empty, a window shopper might worry about being hounded by the employee or poor product quality.


2. Bring a friend on your shopping trip or refer them to a local business you love. On this Small Business Saturday, pick up your bestie (or a few) and share your favorite local stores with them. Maybe visit your hometown and show them all of the best shops and restaurants there. Don’t forget to stop at a local café to pick up your favorite holiday drinks, too!


3. Buy gift cards for those who are hard to shop for. You can just ask my mom and she’ll tell you straight––I’m hard to shop for, especially when it comes to clothes. Our styles just don’t mesh, and by about the age of 10, she’d finally just given up and bought me gift cards instead. This year, instead of buying gift cards to your favorite box stores, consider purchasing them from your favorite local boutiques. Not only will you find more unique pieces, but you’ll also be helping out the local economy and supporting someone within your community.


4. Share your favorite small business’s posts on your social media. Even if you don’t have the chance to get out and shop in-person this holiday season, an even more effective way to create more traffic is to support businesses through social media. Simply sharing one of their posts on your Instagram story or Facebook page is a great way to share with your following about the reputability of this business. Maybe they’ll just be inclined enough to make a purchase of their own!


5. Buy products both online and in-store. Whether you visit in-person or online, small business owners are always grateful to make a sale no matter where it is. Although buying a gift on Amazon is cheap and convenient, buying from a small business is personally gratifying for a business owner. Even the smallest purchase puts a big smile on their face because it is an indicator of their personal success. Being a small business owner is hard; and without your support, it’s nearly impossible.


6. Write online reviews about your favorite local businesses. If you, too, are struggling financially during this pandemic, there is still a way that you can support your favorite local businesses. Even if you don’t visit their shop, you can still write them a thoughtful and sincere review on online platforms like Google or Yelp. By taking a moment to write a positive reflection about your previous shopping experiences, you are automatically encouraging prospective shoppers to visit the store.


Small business owners everywhere have been struggling to make it through this pandemic, and some won’t be able to hang on much longer without your support. If you have the means to do so, please consider shopping local and supporting those within your community this holiday season.