by Erin Bates November 26, 2020
We’ve all heard of “shop local” and of Small Business Saturday. But how can we shop small or local when many brick & mortar stores are closed, and holiday markets are cancelled? With the ongoing pandemic, holiday shopping is not happening per usual- many are now turning to online retailers to avoid leaving home.
It’s just that this year is more important than ever to support smaller businesses. A September survey found that 32% of small businesses that received PPP loans still had to lay off employees, and the same amount stated they’d likely run out of cash reserves by the end of the year. Black owned businesses have been hit especially hard, with 43% stating they’d run out of cash by the end of 2020.
Small businesses make up about 50% of the American workforce- yet they are receiving the brunt of unemployment & layoffs. If these businesses continue to close, more and more people will be left without income needed to live. Though this isn’t the “cheeriest” of notions, if we don’t act now, it will be too late for so many individuals and families around the country. The reality is we, the consumer, have the power to help these businesses survive and thrive.
For this holiday season, mindful consumerism is the keyword to keep in focus. Though not a widely discussed topic, mindful consumerism is essentially defined as a conscious choice to purchase something, rather than a passive or automatic task. This includes taking other factors into consideration, such as sustainability efforts, material sourcing or mission statements. It really means shopping & supporting brands that share your own values.
In this case, being a mindful consumer can help you support small and local businesses. By taking the time to research and establish that something supports these values, you’re enabling yourself to give back to businesses that need it most.
To make your journey into mindful consumerism easier, we put together a list of ways you can support small businesses and your local community. Here are a few starting points to help you shop small this year:
It might be easy to browse on Amazon to find everything- from toys to clothes to books- and literally everything else. But Amazon often takes a huge cut from retailers, especially small businesses that are available on the site. There’s a few alternatives that are (almost) just as easy as ordering from Amazon.
If you find a product you love, learn more about the company through their own website. Oftentimes the same product will be available through the company’s own ecommerce store, but this time the sales go directly to the owners. Once you’re on the company site, it’s much easier to find information like where the product might be sourced from, who founded the company, etc. If you’re looking to stick with online shopping, always go directly to the source. The next option leads to my next point, which is…
This may seem the most obvious, but buying local also requires the most effort. However, many businesses have pivoted to some sort of online model, like takeout menus or curbside pickup options. Take some time to explore what options are available in your area.
For example, buying books on Amazon might be easy (and 2-day shipping might be even more enticing), but most independent bookstores offer the same exact books for likely similar pricing. Some might even offer online ordering so you can just pick everything up right away- just check to see what your local store can do- you can always use Indie Bound to find locations closest to you.
As the pandemic severity continues to fluctuate, many cities have reduced restaurant capacity or even moved to require take-out only. Not only does this leave many servers and bartenders without jobs, it typically leaves restaurants with little sales in comparison.
But that doesn’t mean you still can’t eat out at your favorite place or a new spot you’ve been meaning to try. Again, you’ve got a few options. If you’re getting food to go, make sure it’s ordered directly from the restaurant, and if you want delivery only get it if the place has their own drivers.
You can also purchase giftcards which make a great gift for someone that might be hard to buy for. Or you can get one for yourself so you have an excuse to go there at a later date!
This is seriously the best way to discover new, small brands and businesses. Once you find a product or company you like, just tap the little arrow next to “message”, and Instagram will feed you a ton of other profiles that are similar. It’s a great way to find other great gift ideas and support small.
When you shop small, you support family owned businesses just like Grüvi. Especially during a year like 2020, and with so much uncertainty ahead, supporting small and local really does make a positive impact. We can’t thank you enough for shopping with us, and we urge you to support other small companies like Grüvi.
We hope you explore some new shopping options this year with mindful consumerism at the forefront of your purchases- after such a crazy year, we can all do our part to help local and small businesses continue to flourish for years to come.