Multiple news reports this month indicated that one third of New Jersey’s small businesses have closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. That’s a lot of people out of work, a lot of families wondering where their next paycheck is coming from, and a lot of character from small communities gone. Gone. The Garden State isn’t alone though.
In my small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, news stories have been trickling out slowly for months that small businesses have shut their doors, all of them local shops and restaurants who couldn’t make ends meet due to the pandemic.
These businesses are people you know and families that your kids go to school or see at church. So many of us want to help others during this crazy and unexpected year: shopping small is a big way to help make a positive difference in the lives of people in your immediate community.
Shopping Local Matters
Even a small amount of money put into a local small business makes a huge impact.
Financial resources firm Fundera reveals that more than “$9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy if every US family spent just $10 a month at a local business.” That’s a lot of money, right? But how does it compare to national chains?
The same firm shows that “local business shopping generates $68 of economic contribution for every $100 spent. Meanwhile, spending the same amount at a non-local business like a national chain only generates $43.”
Money is sent back into the local economy through taxes, accounting services, paychecks to employees, who spend their money in the communities where they live and the cycle continues.
Local businesses also support their own communities, donating 250% more money to local charities and nonprofits. I’ve seen this in my local community as well where the generosity of businesses is just astounding. They give grants to many charities and those who truly need help and it’s a wonderful thing to think and to support.
Spending Money Wisely
Gift-giving is personally not my strong point. But this year, I am more grateful than ever for my job, for the work my clients have entrusted to me throughout this difficult year. And I wanted to thank them with something thoughtful.
I searched around my own local community for unique gifts and places I could wisely spend money that would support only local businesses. Even though I am fairly in tune with my community and businesses, I was so impressed with the vast choices of products and gifts available that were of top quality and things I could afford.
I ended up having more fun than I should have to send gifts to my clients. And every small business I bought from personally sent me a thank you note in appreciation for my support.
Honestly, it felt a lot better spending money with these small businesses than purchasing from Wal-Mart. I knew my clients would love the thoughtful gift and I knew I was doing something, however small, to support my local community.
Give Yourself Some Grace
There are certainly some things that it would be pretty hard to buy local and send to family, friends, or clients. And that’s ok. It’s ok if you can’t spend every last dime in your Christmas budget on local business, it’s ok.
Even if you get one gift on your list from a local small business, that’s better than none.