As the holiday season approaches, many of us find ourselves caught up in the excitement of gift-giving, festive decorations, and the joy of spending time with loved ones. But this can also be an overwhelming time with mounting costs and rising prices. According to a recent poll, 43% of middle-income Americans are estimating they will cut back this year from last and 40% are saying they'll spend the same as last year. That means there are a large number of people looking to save money this holiday.

Many people assume that the large stores with the loss leaders are the best way to save money this holiday but that isn't always the case. Local, small businesses offer a lot of economic benefits and savings. While large retailers dominate the holiday shopping landscape, there are compelling reasons to consider supporting local businesses.

Your chamber members may be surprised how shopping small can not only contribute to the community but also help them save money during the holiday season. Share these ways with them to drive more sales for your local businesses.

Ways to Save This Holiday Season by Buying Local

Many people are under the misconception that buying local goods and services are more expensive. They think small businesses don't have competitive prices. But sometimes what seems less expensive at first (those great sales at the national retailers) end up costing more in the long run. Here's why shopping local offers better value for the money:

Personalized Service: One of the significant advantages of shopping at small, local businesses is the personalized service you receive. Unlike big-box retailers, small businesses often prioritize building strong relationships with their customers. This personal touch can lead to better understanding of your needs and preferences, allowing for more tailored product recommendations. In turn, this can help you make more informed purchasing decisions, preventing impulse buys and unnecessary expenses.

Unique and Thoughtful Gifts: Local businesses often offer a diverse range of unique and handmade products that you won't find in large chain stores. By opting for these distinctive gifts, you not only support local artisans and entrepreneurs but also provide your loved ones with presents that stand out. Handcrafted items can be more affordable than mass-produced alternatives, and their uniqueness adds a thoughtful touch to your gift-giving.

Competitive Pricing: Contrary to popular belief, shopping small doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing affordability. Many local businesses understand the importance of offering competitive prices to attract customers. Additionally, without the overhead costs associated with maintaining large retail spaces, small businesses can sometimes pass on savings directly to their customers. Keep an eye out for promotions, discounts, gift bundles, and loyalty programs that may be available at local stores during the holiday season. Speaking of discounts...

Community Discounts and Events: Local businesses often collaborate with one another and community organizations to create special events and discounts during the holiday season. These may include chamber hot deals, holiday markets, sidewalk sales, or cooperative promotions. By taking advantage of these local initiatives, you can find affordable prices and great value on a variety of products while supporting the vibrancy of your community.

Reduced Environmental Impact: Shopping small is not only economically savvy but also environmentally responsible. Many small businesses prioritize sustainability and source their products locally, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation. By choosing to support businesses with eco-friendly practices, you indirectly contribute to a healthier environment. Over time, this commitment to sustainability can translate into long-term cost savings for both the business and the community.

And if you can walk or bike into downtown to pick up a couple of gifts, all the better--less gas and a reduced carbon footprint.

Flexible Pricing and Negotiation: Local businesses often have more flexibility in pricing, allowing for negotiation and customization of deals. Building a relationship with small business owners can lead to mutually beneficial arrangements, such as discounts, bundled deals, or even exclusive promotions tailored to your specific needs. This flexibility can translate into significant savings compared to fixed pricing structures at larger retailers. And if you're conversing business owner to business owner, there may even be the possibility of bartering goods and services.

No Membership Fees or Subscription Costs: Many large retailers offer discounts through membership programs or subscription services, which often come with annual fees. When you choose to shop small, you can avoid these additional costs. Local businesses typically do not require memberships for access to discounts, ensuring that the money you save goes directly toward your purchases rather than subscription fees.

Supporting the Local Economy: When you shop at small, local businesses, a more significant portion of your money stays within the community ($68 for every $100 spent, on average). This helps strengthen the local economy, creating a positive cycle of investment and growth. As the community thrives, local businesses may be more inclined to offer special deals or promotions to express gratitude for the support they receive.

Reduced Shipping Costs: Online shopping is convenient but often comes with shipping fees that can add up, especially during the holiday season. By shopping at local businesses, you can reduce or eliminate shipping costs altogether.

Additionally, you have the option to pick up your purchases in person, saving both time and money. Some businesses may have special free delivery within town as well.

Extended Return Policies and Better Customer Service: Local businesses are more likely to have lenient return policies and provide excellent customer service. In the event that a gift needs to be exchanged or returned, dealing with a local business can be a hassle-free experience. Avoiding the long queues and bureaucracy often associated with large retailers can save you time and potential additional costs.

Community Loyalty Programs: Many small businesses run loyalty programs that reward repeat customers. By participating in these programs, you can accumulate points or receive discounts on future purchases. These community-focused initiatives not only provide you with savings but also foster a sense of connection and loyalty to local businesses.

The benefits of shopping small extend beyond the initial purchase. From flexible pricing and personalized service to reduced shipping costs and community loyalty programs, supporting local businesses can lead to a more economically sound and satisfying holiday shopping experience. As you embark on your festive shopping journey, explore the diverse offerings in your community and uncover the many ways in which shopping small can positively impact your wallet.

Make a big impact on small businesses and your chamber's success by participating in Small Business Season. If your chamber is not already signed up, go to You can come in at the Basic Level or the Professional Level.

Small Business Season is not just a campaign; it's a movement to support the backbone of our communities. Together, let's make this year's holiday the most prosperous yet for our local communities! 

Join us for Small Business Season!


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