My husband can tell you that one of my favorite things to do is go shopping at a local boutique. I find the best gifts and every day items in these small spaces. They are always unique, the products are hand selected by the owners, many times the products support a cause or a local artist so you know your money is going further, and did I mention that I always find what I need? Some of the most meaningful and personal gifts I’ve given to people have come from local boutiques.
But what about everyday items? I find those in local businesses too! If you follow me on Instagram @thekyliebee or subscribe to my blog, you will see me mention a store called Zero Market. There are several stores around the Denver area that cater towards a zero waste lifestyle, but Zero Market was the first of its kind on the scene a few years ago and I have been an avid shopper ever since. Refillable dish soap, beard oil for Bryan, and replaceable brush heads for my kitchen sink brush are just a few of the items I purchase frequently.
I can find almost anything I need at a small business and I always feel better about myself after doing so versus taking a quick trip to a big box store. The experience is more personal and I feel good about supporting a local business.
Small businesses have been important to the foundation of our economy and the livelihood of millions of families across the world. This past year during the pandemic, many have suffered on different levels directly and indirectly because of shutdowns and restrictions. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but supporting small businesses has recently been a message in mainstream media ESPECIALLY in the year 2020 and now into 2021. That’s because small business is important for our economy and it’s important for the families of our communities.
So let me ask you this, what can you do to support the small businesses in your community? Check out my suggestions below:
This might be my favorite tip so I’ll start with this one! You have to explore your area and the shops themselves to get an idea for what is around you. If you don’t, you will only resort to going to Target or something like that because guess what…. You know what’s there! So here are a couple of things you can do to explore the small businesses around you:
- Do a simple Google Maps search. For example, if I need a bouquet of flowers I will search “flowers” and see what pops up in my immediate area. There will be big box stores that show up on the search regardless, but any small businesses that have been around long enough to be recognized by Google will also show up. So just move around the screen, click on a few locations, and explore their websites from there.
- If you don’t need a service or product immediately, but will in the near future, post on Facebook or Nextdoor to ask for recommendations. What’s great is that most of the people on these platforms are in your area so they will likely recommend a local business. For example, if I’m looking for a fresh haircut and color I’ll ask, “Hey everyone, can you please send me recommendations for your favorite hair stylists or salons!” and you’ll be surprised how many people will respond. People love to talk about what they love.
- Take the time to physically explore your community. When you get a coffee in the morning or while you’re waiting for your daughter at dance class, walk around the block and step into the shops even if it’s just to browse. Visiting Farmers Markets and Craft Fairs is another great way to discover local merchants. I guarantee every booth will let you take a business card home with you to remember them if you don’t decide to purchase anything at that time. You don’t have to buy anything immediately, the goal is to become aware of what is out there. Like I said, you know what’s in Target because you’ve been there and browsed the aisles… so apply that same thinking when shopping at small businesses.
2. Order online if you don’t want to shop in person
The pandemic caused a shift that I believe is good for all small businesses; many of them had to get online if they already didn’t have an online presence. Our world is extremely interconnected and the younger generations rely more on the internet to accomplish certain tasks throughout the day (like shopping) than the generations before them. If you would like to support a small business in your community, there is a really good chance they are online. Don’t assume that just because they are a small business they may not utilize the online marketplace.
3. Utilize curbside pickup and delivery options
Along with my last tip, don’t assume that small businesses don’t offer services like curbside pickup and/or delivery. This may have been a fair assumption pre-pandemic, but for a lot of businesses to survive, they have had to make these options available. I also don’t foresee this service going away any time soon even after the pandemic resolves. Why? Because it’s another way to make money! Customers are getting used to the convenience of these options, so as a business why would you all of a sudden cut off that line of supply to your customers just because the pandemic has ended?? You wouldn’t.
If you would rather shop online, try to purchase your items at local businesses and check to see if they offer these services if that’s something you would prefer.
4. Buy gift cards
Buying a gift card from a store not only supports the business for that one-time transaction, you are encouraging another person to become a customer at the store. This will likely lead to future purchases beyond the value of the gift card because the person will hopefully keep returning to the shop.
5. Follow them on social media
Nowadays almost everyone is on social media. One of the best ways to support a small business in your community is to follow their profile and engage with their posts. Many times, social media is also the most efficient form of communication for businesses to reach their customers and tell them about new products or promotions going on in the store. The more people that follow and engage with a brand, the more likely that brand is to succeed because it’s all about awareness and accessibility!
6. Promote them through word of mouth and social media
This tip goes along with the previous one, but goes a bit deeper. Talking about the stores you love with friends, coworkers, and family members helps spread the word and bring awareness to the fact that the business exists. Without my coworker telling me about Zero Market, I don’t know that I would have ventured in there on my own since I had no idea what it was about or where it was. Sure I may have stumbled across it at some point, but because someone told me about it, I grew curious and wanted to check it out. Here we are four years later and I’m still a loyal customer.
Posting about what you bought at the store and tagging the store in the post is a great way to spread the word and encourage curious minds to check out a store. You never know who could be looking for the exact same product that you are showcasing on your social media feed.
Your opinions matter so share what you love with those around you.
We’re all in this together…
Does this blog post make you want to explore the small businesses in your community or what?? I hope so! 🙂
Like I mentioned above, I tend to find exactly what I need, sometimes without knowing it haha, when I stroll into a small boutique. When you walk into a small business, there is an energy that lives there because the owners and employees of the business believe in their mission and the products. It’s not like going to Target and asking an associate what aisle the tennis balls are in and they end up taking you all around the store because let’s face it… they have no idea.
Small businesses are created by community members and are there to serve their community. We need to be there to support them regardless if there is a global pandemic going on or not. Every small business owner is someone’s mother, father, daughter, son, friend, etc. that is just trying to bring their talents, skills, and passions to their community. It could even be you someday.
So next time you need something or put something on your shopping list, think to yourself… is there a small business that I can support that will get me what I need? That’s all I ask.
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Until next time,
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