Five Reasons to Shop Local this Holiday Season

Since 2019, many small businesses in the Waterloo Region and surrounding areas have been struggling to keep their doors open or bring in customers because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, despite our best efforts to keep them afloat with our support.

This year, to bring positive change into the lives of small business owners and those we give gifts to; we should ask ourselves a simple, four-word question with a big, powerful, and well-built answer, and just in time for the holidays.

“How can I help?”

For small business owners, asking this question and following through with the answer we’re given could determine the success or downfall of their life’s work because of the decrease in in-store traffic. To shop small means that you are supporting businesses in the community that we all call home!

With tools like online shopping, curbside pick-up or sending items down a slide from your store window to maintain a contactless shopping experience is a step toward our old routines, there remain challenges ahead for local businesses. As a result of closures throughout the pandemic, small businesses are more likely to experience a decrease in revenue due to decreased traffic. In addition to worsened financial insecurity, the decrease of customers coming in and out of local doors has forced small businesses to look your way for help more than ever before.

Whether it be curbside, inside, or online, put your dollars where they count. Here are five top reasons why you should shop local this holiday season:

  1. You Help Create Jobs for Others

    Did you know that in 2019, 8.4 million Canadians were employed by a local small business?* As business grows, job opportunities grow! Small businesses make up 98.0% of all employer businesses in Canada; therefore, these businesses significantly impact the overall Canadian economy, and with a healthy economy comes more job opportunities** By visiting local boutiques and bakeries, you are investing in a business that gives back; you may even be able to pick up a seasonal part-time job just from getting to know the owners by frequently purchasing their products!

  2. Increases Sense of Community

    When you shop locally, you are helping a business grow and improving a sense of community. When a company is thriving, it creates strong, hard-working leaders who care about the people they are serving. These business leaders have a say in decisions about the community’s upcoming events and improvements. They will lead the community and its people to a more supportive and prosperous future. Additionally, small businesses are typically found in small unique spaces throughout town, giving you the opportunity to share an intimate shopping experience with the owner, where you walk away with more than just a good quality gift, but a valued exchange with another community member.

  3. A Unique and Limited Amount of Products

    Often owners and operators create their businesses based on a particular vision they have in their minds, which means that there is also a specific audience intended for their vision and the consumption of their products or services.

  4. “Made with love” is no longer a figure of speech; this is a dream for intimate gift-givers. You can find a business that shares your same interests or the interests of the person you are buying for, making for a more personalized gift-giving experience, with the security and privilege of knowing that each gift is limited and usually locally sourced or handmade.

  5. Support the Dreams of Entrepreneurs

    According to a Local Business Consumer Sentiment Study, seven out of ten shoppers have admitted that they intentionally go out of their way to support a local business (Red Egg Marketing, 2020). You have the power to influence your shopping habits and consciousness of where you’re spending your money and its importance when it comes to purchasing from big box stores or local shops. Small business owners put everything they have in life at stake to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, and to purchase from their passion means that you get to see the wide smile on the other side of the till instead of the other side of the computer or head office – It means handwritten thank you notes and delivery from a person who knows you by name.

  6. Quality Over Quantity

    When it comes to buying habits, many people opt for convenience, which leads to disappointment after discovering the product’s value did not have its promised quality. A study by Red Egg Marketing reveals that as much as 82% of shoppers will pay more to support small businesses; others (54.39%) say they shop local as they find the goods and services of better quality. The limited amount of each product a small business offers and the source of its materials entail that they are made and handled with care until purchased by the customer. As a result of the higher price, customers are willing to pay more in small shops, each product is made for you and built to last, which is when reliability beats convenience, and quantity vs quality comes into play.

There are many more reasons consumers choose to spend their dollars between the streets, fields, or backyards of their community instead of more prominent brands. However, these top five reasons should call attention to where you are spending your hard-earned dollars and how you are purchasing from small businesses, whether online, curbside, or in-store options. Every purchase from a local shop helps to swerve around the bumps in the road to help pull small businesses out of the hole that COVID-19 dug and back to serving their communities again.

This Holiday season, give the gift of shopping local in your area!

How can you become more involved in the small business community?

  • Find boutiques or coffee shops that suit your style.
  • Attend Holiday craft shows or markets in or around your region.
  • Do your research on the brand. If you can’t purchase from inside the store, check if they have an online or curbside option.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of well-known local shops/small businesses around the region to get you started on your shop local experience:

Stay Safe! Stay healthy!
Conestoga Students Inc.