buy local!

What percentage of the gifts you’ll give this holiday season were purchased from local small businesses? This is the first year I’ve focused any of my attention on buying local. And I’m pleased to say that a VERY conservative estimate is 30% from local small business, but it’s likely closer to 40%.

It’s nice to meet local shop owners. To get to know store personnel. To know your purchase is making a difference.

Over the past several months, I’ve made a commitment to buy less from chain stores and more from small retailers. I now have plenty of local favorites:

Shopping at local craft fairs is great, as well! I also did lots of (Er, maybe too much?) shopping on etsy (Okay, not really local, but small business for sure!) as well as in non-local small businesses – a glass shop in Grand Cayman, dive shop in Grand Cayman, and gift shops in both Savannah and Los Angeles. Truthfully, it seems there are more treasures to be found in places like these – more unique items.

In some cases, it does cost a bit more to buy local. To me, that’s okay. The service is incredible, and getting to know the people in these shops is priceless. Knowing that I’m making a difference in keeping a small business open – particularly in this economy – is well worth the extra cost.

If you don’t already, and if you can, try buying from local small businesses when it makes sense. Swing by a new shop from time to time just because when you have a few minutes to kill. I bet you’ll find that you like it much more than buying from big box retailers or online venues. And please, if you find places you like, take it a step further and share them with others!

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