This week, I’d like to talk about why you should shop local – a detour from aromatherapy for sure, but it’s that important! We’re in the last quarter of the year which means holiday shopping has begun in earnest.
Yes, I know – let’s get through Thanksgiving before we talk Christmas! I get that. I simply want to get into your mindset before the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear.
Please hear me out!
Why It Matters When You Shop Local
Nearly everyone I know constantly shops online and at the big box stores. You tell me that you shop at Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and a host of other nameless, faceless places because it’s “easier to get my shopping done.”
Hmmm…where does your money go when you shop at these places? Does it help support your community? Are you helping to create a living-wage job? Um…no, you’re not.
I have no intention of throwing a bunch of boring statistics at you about shopping local vs. big box. I do, however, want you to read for yourself why it’s so important to shop local:
Several retail studies have been done across the country, in big cities and small towns, and all have come up with similar numbers. When a consumer spends $100 in locally owned retail businesses, $45 is recirculated in the local economy. When that same $100 is spent in chain stores, the local reinvestment drops to $23. Spend that same $100 at an out-of-state online retailer, the local cut is almost zero.
Why? Because an independent business buys supplies from other local businesses, hires local accountants and web designers, and attracts customers who shop at neighboring establishments. A chain has centralized buying, its own accountants and lawyers, and sends its daily revenues directly to its own bank. And an out-of-state online entity doesn’t even employ local people, so their contribution is negligible.
Are you getting the point yet?
Ideas For Shopping Local
If you work in a downtown area, why not take your lunch hour and window shop at the local gift boutique? Why don’t you shop at the local Ace Hardware (which is independently owned) instead of the big box home improvement stores?
What about shopping at a local farmers market every week instead of a grocery store chain? You don’t think you can get anything good at a farmers market? Oh, I beg to differ! At most farmers markets, you’ll find eggs, meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, fresh spices, baked goods, bread, jam and flowers.
And you support a local small business each time you make a purchase!
What’s that? You don’t like going to a farmers market? Why? Is it out of your way? Think it’s too expensive (it’s actually less expensive)? You simply can’t be bothered? I’m calling you out on the last reason – because I’ve had too many people tell me exactly that!
And the sales tax argument is quickly going the way of the dodo bird. Even when I purchase supplies online, I still pay sales tax – and shipping. Are you really so chintzy about a couple of bucks in sales tax that you refuse to shop local? (Yep – I’m calling you out big time today!)
And instead of giving more mindless “stuff”, why not give someone a restaurant certificate or tickets to the theater or movies from local establishments? Why do we believe Christmas gifts should cost lots of money and last a full year until the next Christmas?
Why do you want to give your hard-earned money to a big box store and reward a greedy CEO? Why not reward a hard-working small business owner and really make a difference in someone’s life?
You know, every time someone makes a purchase from a small independent business, the owners (including me) do a happy dance! We’re all very grateful for your business.
Where To Shop Local
Today, I’m going to take some of the work out of looking for small independent shops, restaurants and experiences so that you don’t have to dig.
- Scented Balance Aromatherapy – I have a studio and online storefront. Give loved ones the gift of relief through aromatherapy for headaches, anxiety, depression, pain and other concerns. Not sure what to get? Get a gift certificate in any amount!
- Sadie’s Shoppe in Mocksville, NC. Everything here is handcrafted, repurposed or upcycled. Unique one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list.
- Dahlia’s Floral Design in Clemmons, NC. Decorate your holiday table with a gorgeous floral arrangement. This independent shop offers gifts and home accessories, too.
- Gifts By Mia in Winston-Salem, NC. There’s gifts for all ages here that you won’t find anywhere else!
- Lovingkindness Reiki and Yoga in Clemmons, NC. Tressa is the beautiful soul and owner of this small studio. She teaches yoga for every level, age and size. It’s also a wonderful gift of health.
- Jasper & Fern in Winston-Salem, NC. Alyson is an ah-mazing photographer and her unique style empowers women to see their own beauty. In the studio, you can also get a massage, haircut and makeup lessons.
- The Little Theater of Winston-Salem is in its 84th season – why not give tickets to your sweetheart for a date night? I still remember getting tickets to an Amy Grant concert and that’s been years ago!
- The Himalayan Hideaway Salt Cave in Winston-Salem. Sitting in a salt cave for a few minutes promotes relaxation and lung health.
- The Tavern in Old Salem in downtown Winston-Salem offers a unique taste of local heritage and dining. Perfect for date night!
- A Reflexology session from Planet Reflex in downtown Winston-Salem. Troy Hurst is the owner and loves to help people feel better through reflexology. It’s awesome!
- Feeling adventurous? What about a skydiving experience from Piedmont Skydiving? Located in Salisbury, they offer year round tandem skydiving – you don’t have to know how to do it!
- Fresh beef from Brantley Farms in Mocksville. Gwen and Russell are the proprietors of this full-time cattle farm. M-m-m-m-m-m! I’m hungry just thinking about it! You can also inquire about hosting your next event here – and they have a small Winter Farmers Market through the end of December.
- What about a gift card to your beloved’s favorite coffee shop or book store? They’re everywhere!
- A weekend at a local B & B would be awesome for a relaxing “stay-cation”.
If your recipient lives in another state or city, then by all means go online and look into gift certificates from small local businesses in their city. Better yet, why not get them a gift certificate from one of your favorite local businesses and invite them to visit for a weekend?
Many of these businesses are owned by women, so you can get an awesome gift and support women-owned businesses at the same time. It’s a win-win for everybody!
These are just a few ideas you can use to get started shopping local. See how easy that was? Why not sleep in on the Saturday after Thanksgiving – which is now known as Small Business Saturday – then visit your local retailers to do your holiday shopping with ease.
Just in case you’re wondering where Scented Balance will be on Small Business Saturday (aw…thanks for asking!), I’ll be in downtown Winston-Salem at Jasper & Fern for the Small Business Crawl from 10 AM – 4 PM. Plenty of parking and a wide array of small businesses with unique gifts and services for everyone on your list!