Retail and Small Business & Startups

Make an impact with your dollar this holiday season

November 30, 2018
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Elissa Sangalli Hillary. Courtesy Local First

The average American will spend about $1,000 this year during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. While more than half of Americans plan on shopping online and at department stores, only 23 percent of Americans plan to purchase from a local business.

Every holiday season is an opportunity to make a positive impact through spending. Our community is home to vibrant business districts filled with unique boutiques and restaurants, offering many opportunities to find unique and heartfelt gifts. Shopping local gives back to our community in many ways – supporting local entrepreneurs, business owners, employees and families.

If you want to make a positive impact with your dollar this year, here are some ideas for creating a plan to shop local.

Make a list and check it twice

Be strategic about how you spend your dollars this holiday season. Before you hit up the stores, make a list of who you’re shopping for and what you plan to buy each person. Once you have a list, see if you can purchase any of those gifts from a local business. Chances are there’s a local business in the area that offers what you’re looking for – from housewares and clothing to books and sporting goods. Here are a few business directories to help guide your search:

— Local First
— Uptown
— Good for Michigan
— Experience GR

Purchase gifts from local businesses

Now that you have a plan, it should be easier to tackle your local holiday shopping. Research shows when you spend $100 at a local business, $68 stays in your community, with those dollars going toward local taxes, wages, local supplies and more. Imagine if the average shopper shifted just a quarter their $1,000 holiday budget to local businesses — that’s almost $200 re-invested in our community! The impact can add up when we keep our dollars moving throughout our local communities.

Give a gift from a B Corp

Another way you can make a positive impact through shopping is supporting B Corps. B Corps are businesses that prioritize using their business to make positive social and environmental impacts. There are several local retail B Corps in our community you can shop, such as Athleta, Better Way Imports, Brewery Vivant and Gluten Free Bar. Don’t forget to shop B Corp brands like Patagonia. For a full list of B Corps, visit bcorporation.net/directory.

Make online shopping count

If you’re someone who prefers to do holiday shopping from the comfort of your home, you can still keep your dollars local. Check to see if your favorite local stores have an online store — they might even have holiday specials! Another handy tool for shopping with an impact is shopping through DoneGood, an online platform that curates gifts from mission-focused companies. 

Source local ingredients for your holiday feast

Don’t forget about shopping local for your holiday party or Christmas dinner. From local bakeries to butchers to locally owned grocery stores, there are endless options for finding ingredients for dinner, appetizers, treats and beverages. And if you don’t feel like cooking, consider having a local restaurant cater your dinner.

Every dollar you spend locally this holiday season counts. Shopping local supports local businesses and families by keeping dollars in our community. I hope you will join me in shopping local and intentional this holiday season and encourage your friends and family, too.