November 26, 2022 is Small Business Saturday — a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. While looking for the perfect gift, shopping small may be the perfect solution for the holidays. 

Small businesses are the heart of any city or town. They help create local jobs, donate to local charities, volunteer and help build a sense of community and character. Not only are you helping the economy, but you are helping a family put their kid in dance class, make renovations or even keep the lights on. Supporting local businesses helps keep cities diverse and a unique place to live. By shopping small you can discover fun and unique gifts, help the local economy and future generations thrive. 

Small businesses were tragically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and had to quickly adapt, and some are still rebuilding. It has always been important to support local businesses, especially now that they are still struggling to survive. The beauty and character of a neighborhood stems from its vibrant diverse storefronts not empty commercial space. So support your local bookstores, mom and pop gift shops, restaurants, art stores, not just during the holidays but all year-round.

When you shop local, the money cycles back into your community. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses added 1.8 million new jobs in the United States during the latest year studied. The United States has 30.7 million small businesses and they employ 47.3 percent of the private workforce. “The data clearly show small businesses are at the forefront of economic growth,” said Acting Chief Counsel Major L. Clark, III. Small businesses donate 250% more than large businesses to local nonprofits and community causes, including local charities, youth organizations, first responders, food and volunteer services. 

Unlike big retailers, the tax revenue made through sales taxes from local businesses support the local government, which is used to reinvest in the community. However, big box retailers often receive tax breaks from local governments that don’t give local businesses such a luxury. By choosing to invest money into a large big box chain elsewhere, local communities won’t reap any of the benefits. Small businesses also tend to focus and prioritize customer experience, as well as employee morale and well-being. 

Many small businesses were hit hard by the pandemic — minority-owned businesses experienced an even higher drop in business. Black-owned businesses were hit the hardest, as business activity declined by 41%. Latinx businesses dropped by 32%, and Asian businesses dropped by 26%. The minority-owned businesses that are still open could really use your help. Find the ones near you with the Small Business Administration’s directory of minority-owned businesses. It’s also a great resource to use to search for women-owned and veteran-owned businesses.

You can even shop by location and demographic: (NYC) 
SHOP YOUR CITY

Here are 10 Ways You Can Support Local Businesses:

1. Buy Gift Cards

Gift cards are a great convenient gift, that are appropriate for the holidays or any special occasion. You can get cards directly from shops including restaurants, spas, boutiques, pet supply, and more. There are many benefits to getting gift cards including some coupons, sales and deals, and building brand awareness. Not only can the card typically be used at any time, but the immediate revenue can really help a small business stay alive. Whether someone is looking for a salon glow-up, self-care spa day or a reason to try that new sushi restaurant, gift cards are an ideal gift-giving win.

2. Shop your local farmers’ market

There are many benefits to farmers’ market shopping, such as finding seasonal fruits and vegetables, getting the freshest produce possible, promoting sustainability and preserving America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Produce grown locally is typically much fresher than super market shelves. You also lessen your environmental impact by buying fresh food grown locally. Depending on the time of year, you can find seasonal foods, orchards and produce or even pay a visit to a farm or ranch for a recreational experience such as exploring pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and taking fun photos on hayrides and beautiful seasonal backdrops. At local markets you can find available products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, bedding plants, canned or preserved. Search food hubs that aggregate and distribute local source-identified food products. 

Find directories for farmers markets, food hubs, tours: Usdalocalfoodportal.com

3. Support independent bookstores or local comic shops

An independent bookstore is a retail bookstore which is independently owned. Typically, independent stores consist of only a single actual store (although there are some multi-store independents). Shopping at independent book stores is a fantastic way to find unique reads, connect with other locals, and support local communities. Indie bookshops are also a great place to find some rest and relaxation.

There are many incredible independent bookshops in New York that add to the vibrant literary culture of the city. You can find bookstores ranging from used and antique books, to niche shops with particular genres, and cute cozy coffee shop aesthetics. Some shops even host frequent book signings, community gatherings and events. Whatever you city you reside in you may find a local treasure: Bookshop Locator

This is also a great resource for independent bookstore day! INDIE BOUND

Not only are indie book shops a great way to shop locally, but so are local comic shops.

“When you visit a comic book shop, you're stepping into a world of wonders. Find out why comic book shops are a great place to discover comics and join a community of people just like you!” Comic shops are not only a great way to connect with others that enjoy particular fandoms, but a perfect place for gifts. From books, to art, to toys, collectibles and other merch comic shops are perfect for any pop culture, anime and superhero fan. Use the Comic Shop Locator to find your one near you!

4. Support Your friends' businesses — DIY handmade small businesses & custom gifts

To make shopping fun, find one-of-a kind and more diverse goods to choose from. Small businesses provide more handcrafted and original products. Get that aromatic cinnamon candle or citrus bath-bomb and coconut oils. Get creative, stand out with DIY gifts, make them custom or engraved. You can find so many different options for gifts for yourself or others on Etsy, word-of-mouth, and from friends businesses. Another great option is buying local artwork and decor. Instead of buying generic retail prints, support local artists. Shopping local you’ll find the perfect piece of original art to brighten up your plain walls.

5. Engage in Self-Care / Hobbies

Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Whether you or a loved one wanted to try that new kickboxing class or get a massage, the holidays are the perfect opportunity to gift some R&R or recreational activities. Small businesses often offer introductory classes or gift package options. Local gyms may provide different exercise classes, some craft stores or studios can offer classes and workshops. So gift that photography class, cooking workshop or wellness experience.

6. Check out that new boutique

Find “A little something for everyone!” You’ll be surprised what treasures you can find at local shops. There are plenty of independent fashion brands, art stores and craft shops that sell unique, trendy, affordable cards, bags, plushies, collectibles, stickers, stationary, mugs, clothes and more. Shops like these are perfect for the holidays because you find multiple gifts for different people based on their unique interests.
 

7. Shop independent kids' brands or toy stores

Independent shops offer many creative options that spark creativity, encouragement, movement and inclusivity. You can find workshops, family events, art events and more. Independent shops typically hold more creator-owned and independent publishers, or designers' books and merchandise. From DIY crafts, kits, games, custom games, books and dolls you are sure to find some gems kids will love. Shopping independently is also a great way to not only support the business but the independent brands such as Healthy Roots Dolls — filling a market gap and helping little girls find dolls that look like them impacting self-esteem.

8. Order that take-out food and tip

Restaurants were hit very hard by the pandemic, many even going out of business. A great way to support local businesses is actually ordering take-out and delivery. Take a break from cooking and eat in, but call restaurants directly. Using third-party apps like Door Dash, Uber Eats and Postmates not only cost you more but they actually charge restaurants a fee.

9. Leave Positive Reviews

Reviews help generate word-of-mouth marketing. They also help add credibility to the reputation of a small business. Leave an honest review about your experience, the excellent and friendly staff, the vibes, the service. People generally check reviews before trying a new spot for the first time, so businesses will definitely appreciate the support. Word-of-mouth goes a long way.

10. Share Recommendations

Loved that new Colombian restaurant? Spread the word. Sharing your food pictures on social media really does work. Go on a date, bring your friends, tell your parents about the delicious new dish you were raving about. Sharing on apps, and social media is a way of free marketing and helps keeps the doors open and lights on. Check out SEEK RECS - (NYC based app) Discover exclusive experiences with curated recommendations by experts in their field. A great way to find events, restaurants, and shops based on interests and recommended by locals, and also share your favorite hidden gems.