Now, more than ever, buying local matters. Small business owners and local shops have had to do some quick pivots during the last six months and not all have survived. Here at the shop we are forever grateful for our faithful friends and new customers who have found us on social media over the last few months.
The internet has ushered in an era of convenience and accessibility for shoppers, which is great. But in the midst of looking for the best deal and flocking to discount retailers we, as consumers, can forget about the lovely and unique local shops in our own back yard. Here are some tips to consider when looking to make a purchase.
Five Tips to Keeping it Local
1. Do Your Research
Before you spend a dime, do a little research. Do a search on social media to find unique shops in your area. Often times, local businesses 'follow' each other and promote each other on Instagram so spend a little time following the 'follow-chain' to discover a new, hidden gem in your town. Your local neighborhood Facebook group is a great place to find recommendations on shops and services in your area, too.
2. Be Flexible
When shopping local, remember that small businesses don't have the buying power of big box stores so while you may have something in particular in mind remain open to suggestions. Local shops often stock unique or handmade items from local artisans or independent designers. Having an open mind while shopping local can yield wonderful results!
3. Add a Little Extra
In this time of economic uncertainty for small businesses, every customer is a difference maker and spending a little bit more can have a huge impact on the business come month end. If you are picking up a gift, add an art card. Ordering take out, add desert. Picking up flowers for a friend, take home a little plant for yourself, too. Each extra ten or fifteen dollars spent boosts the bottom-line for your local retailers and that's just good news for everyone!
4. Be Kind
These last months have been filled with uncertainty and stress for all of us. No one in our generation has ever experienced such widespread change and continued shifting of protocols and guidelines before. This has left us all a little (or a lot) more stressed than usual. That's why a little kindness goes a long way. It's been a huge learning curve for shop owners to take their businesses online while at the same time adapting their in-person shop experiences to maintain all recommended protocols. I promise you, we are all doing the best we can. We want to serve our customers to the same standard we did pre-COVID, it just may take us a little more time or more steps to fulfill your requests. Be kind. Be patient. We're in this together.
5. Spread the News!
Have you had a great experience at a local shop? Tell your friends and your neighbors. Leave a good review. Tag the shop on social media. Recommend the business on Facebook. And above all, call the manager to let them know how stellar their staff is. Honestly, people are quick to ask to speak to the manager when they are displeased but it rarely occurs to folks to call back to give a shout out for a job well done. It means the world to your front line retail workers to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
This too shall pass. Eventually this pandemic will end and we will settle in to the regular rhythms of life again. In the meantime, shop local, be kind, wear a mask, wash your hands and know that we sure do appreciate you.