Shop Local and Support your Community this Year

Sydnie Uphoff, Assistant Editor

The holiday season is a successful time for most businesses with people out and about shopping for family and friends, and enjoying the festivities. For many businesses, 30% of their annual sales are brought in through holiday shopping.

However, with large chain stores and an increase in online shopping, many people are opting not to shop locally. Post pandemic, many small businesses have had to add an online component to their business.

When in quarantine, many people turned to shopping completely online and have continued to frequently shop online even as the pandemic has become less relevant. While online shopping can be easier, you are missing out on supporting the people in your own community.

Especially after the pandemic, many local businesses need the customers and the support of their community to stay afloat. You can help your local businesses in a variety of ways through purchasing their merchandise, purchasing gift certificates, and praising them on social media platforms.

A great way to support local businesses in your community is by doing your Christmas shopping through them rather than a large corporation like Amazon. Most gifts you purchase can be found at a small business.

Oftentimes, local businesses offer higher quality and unique gifts that you can’t find anywhere else. Shopping locally also allows you to browse around and come up with gift ideas. It is a great way to have fun! You can spend an afternoon with family or friends window shopping and enjoying the holiday season atmosphere.

“I love shopping downtown Milford during the holidays because it is always festive and you can find really great gifts for people” Senior Gracie Smetana says.

After asking the employees at Acorn Farm about why one should shop locally, they enthusiastically responded with a variety of reasons.

For one, you are receiving great customer service and building personal relationships. “Many local businesses donate to local charities and activities so you are supporting your community when shopping locally,” one employee said. They went on to share that when you shop at local stores that you know well, you can trust the quality of what you are purchasing and you are receiving a unique shopping experience.

Another way to support your local businesses is by giving their gift certificates as presents.

Sometimes, it is challenging to find a great gift for someone and gift certificates are the best option. Amazon gift cards aren’t your only choice. For example, if you have a family member who enjoys cooking and lives in Milford, you could consider giving them an Acorn Farm gift certificate. There are plenty of businesses in your community that have good options for your friends and family.

In today’s world, especially post pandemic, a lot of communication happens online and through social media. With over 4.4 billion people using social media, it is a great way for small businesses to reach potential customers.

If you go to a local business and have a good experience, consider mentioning them on your social media or leaving them good reviews online. This helps spread the word about their establishment and persuade others to shop at local businesses as well.

While the holiday season can be stressful and hectic, it gives you a great opportunity to check out businesses in your community and support them.

Downtown Milford, the perfect place to shop locally (photo by Sydnie Uphoff)