Tips on How to Spread the Local Business Love

Here’s a little confession: I don’t do enough of my shopping at small businesses, even though I am part owner of one.

I mean, that’s not totally true: when I eat out or get a cup of coffee while I’m out and about, I do usually go to a local place. That’s because I love the quality and uniqueness of those places. Local boutiques and speciality stores provide this too, I know.

But when it comes to buying clothes, books, things for the home… I usually go thrifting. I love thrifting.

Part of it is the thrill of the hunt. Yet another part is that I like to save money so I can live within my means in an expensive city.

But in this year of economic struggle and hype for #supportlocal, I’ve been trying to do more for local businesses, especially as I start holiday shopping. I’ll admit that it’s hard! Anyone that I’m shopping for doesn’t care if I spend $10 on their sweater or $50.

And so, I have made a list for people like me: People that want to support local but who are recovering budget-oholics. For some of these tips, you don’t have to spend a nickel (since pennies don’t exist anymore)!

Support local businesses’ Instagram and Facebook posts

One of my favourite YouTubers Graham Stephen says, in every video, “Smash the ‘like’ button for the YouTube algorithm!” The gist of it is that “liking” and sharing your favourite businesses’ posts can help their posts gain more traction online.

Have you ever noticed that when a business makes a big announcement their post is near the top of your feed? It’s because the algorithm has picked up that whatever they have shared is a big deal to their customers!

Even if you’re not planning to take part in their promotion, someone else who already likes their page may benefit from seeing it. So, ‘like’ away!

Make sure to ‘like’ local businesses in the first place!

People may walk by a storefront many times without ever going in. For me, I often assume that the boutiques on Lower Johnson Street are out of my budget–so, I never enter them.

How could you not want to enter one of these cute lil' local shops?! (Photo from Pixabay--click on it for more info!)

But if one of them has a sale or an item I can’t resist and they advertise it online–I’m sold! But I have to be following them first. It’s a good first step! Tell your friends to do the same, too.

Consider shipping costs before you shop online

I’ve been looking for a particular item online lately (I’m trying not to enter every shop downtown, knowing I won’t buy anything at most), and I’ve seen A LOT of businesses offer free shipping if you spend over $100. That’s fine if you were planning to spend that much, but you could do better by just finding the item you want and sourcing it locally. Try calling a shop and reserving the item for pickup!

Some downtown businesses are now even offering free shipping through the DVBA!

Suggest that the more financially stable people in your life shop local, too!

The idea of shopping local isn’t on everyone’s radar. I know that some of my relatives like the familiarity of chain stores–it’s a comfort.

A good idea could be to tell people who are shopping for you what your favourite shop is! If it is a higher price point than what they’re used to, you could even suggest they get a gift card for whatever they would have spent elsewhere.

Maybe that takes a bit of fun out of the gift-giving process, but it could also be a reminder to them that material goods aren’t the most important thing to you. What counts is the thought from the gift-giver and the thought that went into making the gift (or into running the shop that supplied the gift)!

Do you have any other tips for spreading the local love? Let me know!

-Gina