Two weeks ago, we asked you to ask your elected officials and your own selves to put aside political differences and work together on a shared set of values. Last week, we asked you to think of ways to get involved and work together to keep the feedback loop of ideas and initiatives that serve to build community going. This week, we ask that you do your part to keep and boost the cycle of our local economy going by shopping local.
Small Business Saturday was started almost a decade ago in the midst of an economic recession to encourage communities to invest in themselves and their neighbors. In times similar to that 10 years ago, the shopping day is even more important this year than any other.
Small Business Saturday is Nov. 28 this year. According to American Express, the creator of Small Business Saturday, an estimated 62% of small businesses with less than 100 employees need local shopping and spending to return to pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of 2020 to stay in business.
There isn’t any doubt that our area has always been good at shopping local, but as Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, let’s take a step back and remember our small, local stores that likely have all of the things you’re looking for, for relatively the same price.
Last year, the US Small Business Administration reported that American’s spent almost $20 billion on Small Business Saturday, and over the last nine years since its creation, American spent almost $100 billion total.
Instead of heading to Amazon for that book you need, head to Arcadia Books instead. Shopping for the DIY-er in your life? Head to Doerre Hardware in Spring Green or Ederers Do it Best in Plain (to only name a couple!). In times like these, it might seem crazy to set foot outdoors and purchase the items on your Christmas shopping lists, but wear your mask, keep your distance and wash your hands and you should be all set to support your local businesses this holiday season.
You never know which of your favorite local businesses, stores or restaurants is one of the 62% that might not open its doors again after this year—even a small purchase can change that.
If you’re still feeling apprehensive about heading out on an adventure to all of our fantastic local businesses, that’s absolutely understandable—and that’s the best part about shopping local—you get a smaller, more personalized experience. Contact the local, small business you’re looking to shop at and see if they offer curbside pick or online shopping. Many of the local businesses likely do offer those things, so it will be no different than if you placed that Amazon order.
Because here’s the deal, when you shop local, the impact is bigger than you’d think. When you buy a single item from a single small businesses, you’re helping to pay for piano lessons for someone’s child, you’re helping to pay someone’s electric bill when it’s sub 32 degrees out, you’re putting that Thanksgiving or Christmas meal on someone’s table—you are helping to make someone else’s life just a little bit easier, a little bit better, a little bit more enjoyable from one single purchase.
American Express estimates that at least 67 cents for every dollar spent at a local business stays within that community, as opposed to 0 cents when you spend your money at Amazon.
When you shop local, that money goes directly back into the community, back into your neighbor’s bank account to help them survive and thrive. That—this year more than ever—is so, so incredibly important—because this year we are going through something our modern society never has and it’s threatening to devastate small communities like our beautiful River Valley area.
We have the power to stop that devastation, and instead flourish into something bigger, stronger and more beautiful.
Let’s all do our part to make sure that our local businesses are not part of that 62% looking at shuttering their windows. All it takes is one purchase to make a difference.
Wait, is that a new wine at Convivio? Oooo, is that chocolate cheese at Arena Cheese? And a beautiful serving plate at Wilson Creek Pottery? Okay, maybe more than one purchase.
If you are able, please consider shopping among the many options in our communities here in the River Valley—and never stop believing that you alone can make a difference.