It’s that time of year agai... Christmas. Everyone’s favorite reason to go into debt from overspending and putting a lot of cash into faceless corporate pockets. But this Christmas, why not try a new approach instead of running out to the mall or the local big box store – why not change the game and buy everything on your list, locally?
Many retailers make their nut for the year in December; the sales are in the billions. Christmas time is literally a make or break opportunity for everyone in commerce. With that said, this year give thought to investing into your community. Supporting small, local business helps bring other cool companies to your town as well gives the local chamber of commerce a reason to help subsidize young entrepreneurs who want to make their dream a reality.
When you spend money at a local mom & pop, you’re investing into your community and giving your city, town or village an identity. The less ugly parking lots and the more quaint shops with interesting varieties foster a sense of community, instead of a cold shopping experience. You are exercising a buying power that’s phenomenal; you’re sustaining local growth by helping your neighbors, while keeping the money in the community instead of it going into some guy in a bad suit’s pocket.
The big box stores carry the same stuff no matter where you go. Nothing has identity; nothing keeps people coming back other than price. Which is misleading; consumers want the best product for their dollar, but what they’re failing to realize is that the low cost product of X is putting enough in your pocket to purchase Y, and Z – it’s nothing but a parlor trick to get you to spend more and more of your money.
By investing in your hometown, you’re creating sustainable jobs, as well as giving areas a chance to develop into town centers and places where people want to meet and spend instead of just going to some prison looking barn with bad lighting and blue smocks.
Bouncing around town checking out all of the little shops with cool t-shirts, or used books is a great way to meet like-minded people. Stopping in for a bite to eat, and getting a coffee at the rad new coffeehouse shows that you’re not stuck in some mid American rut – you’re invested in your friends and family. People are working and because no matter how much you feel like you’ll save on those Breaking Bad DVDs, small businesses are America’s number one employer.
And best of all, you’re buying what YOU want. You’re giving a gift that’s different and unique instead of what "They" want you to buy. For all of the people who’ll get the same sweater, and the same set of underwear from a box store, you can breathe easy knowing you’ve helped put the tax money in good hands, and you’ve given gifts that people will remember because you showed love, care and thought instead of mindless pandering to the corporate machines that just want your dollar.
This Christmas get out there and shop at all the little guys stores, have a drink in a smoky bar, and get a bite to eat at that new café you keep passing. You’ll not only raise your own spirits by discovering your town in a whole new way, you’re giving an even better gift: you’re supporting someone’s choice to be their own boss. Something we ALL want in our lifetimes.