Buying local used to mean frequenting weekly, seasonal farmer’s markets. But shopping locally and supporting small businesses has evolved from a trend to a way of life. As we head towards Small Business Saturday in Bend, Oregon, it’s more important than ever to shop local.
Small Business Saturday
American Express, which launched its Shop Small Business campaign in November of 2010, gained national attention when they shifted the focus from Black Friday to shop local businesses. This launched the Small Business Saturday campaign, which occurs on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. It gained momentum after President Obama shared his support for the holiday in 2011. Shoppers across the nation spent nearly $20 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2020 alone.
Shopping at small businesses doesn’t always equate to tiny farm stands and start-ups; ‘Main Street’ is now referred to as a local business, established for five or more years, with 50 or fewer employees. Does this broaden your idea of what constitutes ‘small’ and ‘local’?
Shop Local, Support Local
Now, let’s take a look at what ‘local’ really means. In reference to food, like locally grown produce, grass-fed beef, and free-range organic eggs, anything within 100 miles would constitute as coming from a local source. This is due to the minimal time that food spends in transit, storage, and the carbon footprint from freight. With locally-sourced food comes an array of health benefits.
However, when it comes to retail, heading to your local Target three miles from home does not constitute “shopping local”. Think ‘main street’, mentioned earlier. When you invest your dollars into main street shops, 68% of your dollars continue to circulate your micro-economy, compared to 43% with large businesses, resulting in 58% more retention.
This is also attributed to the fact that big-box corporations are employed by managing staff who are less apt to purchase their supplies locally. Main street employees have higher loyalty and often feel a stronger commitment to their companies and the staff within.
Small Business in Bend, Oregon
Nearly 8% of all adults are both the owners and operators of a small business; Bend entrepreneurs registered more businesses per capita than any other large city in Oregon. As of 2017, 1 in 28 Bend residents is listed as business owners or entrepreneurs.
There are more than just tax incentives to keeping your dollars local. Studies show that 50% of pollution comes from industrial sources; 7% of small business owners admit to always using recyclable materials, while 50% say that they make an effort to “often or occasionally” use them.
And, let’s not forget one of the key components of the consumer’s choice in where to spend their hard-earned money: the experience! While 40% of consumers admitted to shopping local for the sole purpose of supporting their friends, family, and neighbors, a staggering 28% of shoppers do so for an innovative experience—something that Amazon doesn’t offer.
Supporting the Makers
In fact, the “handmade” culture has become so influential that “pop-up shops” are occurring on a regular basis throughout communities. These events include several local makers and vendors selling their work to locals as the community gathers. Oftentimes, gathering to support these tastemakers includes food and drink from local trucks and carts.
This Small Business Saturday in Bend, Oregon, let’s commit to shopping handcrafted, locally-sourced gifts from independently owned shops and domains. We’ll also take a pledge to seek out these small business owners and shops throughout the year and not solely during the holidays.
Meet the author
Haven Member, Social Media Manager