BBB Tips: Shop local, eat local during the holiday season

We hear so much about the ease of shopping online during the rush of the holiday season. Advertisers will be everywhere, almost to the point where it can become mind-boggling to figure out the “best deal.”

A trip down Main Street USA might be a better place to start this year. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. In many cases, they are the customers of other local businesses: printers, advertisers, insurance companies, sign makers, accountants/CPAs, human resource companies and other small businesses that share a mutual interdependence in order to run their own companies. These dollars stay within our communities. They pay our state and local taxes, and they provide additional job opportunities.

Local business owners often are the ones who invest and give back to their communities, supporting a multitude of organizations and local events throughout the year.

Very seldom do I walk into a local store that I am not greeted. There are often staff who can answer your questions or help you find an item quickly.

Citizens often lament the loss of community and character as more big box stores move in. This year, make a difference. Shifting a portion of your spending from a national chain and the internet to independent, locally-owned shops can have a dramatic effect on our local economy.

The Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana offers these tips when you “shop small” on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25 (and throughout the holiday season):

• Find out what stores are participating in Small Business Saturday.

• Sign up for email alerts on specials the store is offering on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.

• Understand the store’s return policy so there are no surprises.

• Tuck the gift receipt into a gift item or card so the recipient can return or exchange a gift. Pass information about returns, exchanges and warranties to the recipient.

• To promote small business shopping, take a selfie at your favorite small business. Share it on social media with the hashtags #BBB and #ShopSmall and tell the world why you love small businesses. What a great way to support your community.

When you’re finished shopping, or need a little break during the day, stop in at a local coffee shop or restaurant and feast on some local fare.

Everyone can help spread the word about Small Business Saturday, which takes place on Nov. 25, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The more people and the more businesses that get involved, the bigger and more beneficial the day will be for our Northern Indiana communities.

BBB offers a special thank you to our Accredited business that have supported our mission of advancing marketplace trust. The BBB brand has stood for “trust” in the marketplace for over 100 years. Shopping local with trusted businesses in your community may add to a more stress-free holiday. For more information, go to BBB.org or call 1-800-552-4631.

COMMENTS