As the Holiday season commences and with three weeks left until Christmas, odds are you are desperately trying to wrap up last minute shopping. Hitting up Amazon, Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers has become a holiday tradition in its own right.
Another contender has risen up from obscurity in the last few years though, ready to reclaim its preeminent place in the American shopping hierarchy: your local small business.
This juggernaut is ready to fight tooth and nail for every dollar spent this holiday season and there are some compelling reasons to support it.
Local small businesses were the backbone of daily life and our communities for many decades. Even today, small businesses account for roughly two thirds of new job creation in the United States. The local bookstore, auto-repair shop and specialty retailer all promote growth in our communities and encourage growth by making sure spending within the community doesn’t stagnate and benefits multiple groups.
An example of this increased money velocity (frequency of transactions in a domestic economy) is found in small businesses that receive money for a product, then turn around and use that capital on another domestic product. If I spend $10 at my neighborhood bookstore, I might actually be contributing hundreds of dollars’ worth of growth the local economy. Local purchases are an investment into bettering our economy on both the local and state level.
Small Business Saturday has grown from a 2010 depression gimmick to a nationally recognized “shopping holiday” endorsed by both political parties and gaining unanimous support on social networking sites. This year spending exceeded estimates and generated a whopping 5.5$ billion dollars in sales. American Express, Facebook, Twitter and others have all rallied to promote local businesses for free. This growth has allowed many small businesses to hire new workers, provide benefits and promote civic organizations within their communities.
Amazon and Wal-Mart are convenient. I’d be lying if I’d say there aren’t some things you’re better suited buying off Amazon this season. (Most local places don’t carry Frogmen Sea Scooters, and Amazon has a great deal on one today.) If you have the opportunity though, drop in a local store and you might find a place you'll continue to frequent for years to come.
Friendship and community is awfully hard to make with a login on Amazon, and that is the greatest strength of our small businesses.