Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, accounting for 64% of new job creation. And yet, big box stores and online retailers often get the lion's share of holiday shopping dollars. Instead, support your community by shopping locally this holiday season!
We sat down with our Marketing Director, Collin McCullough, and President/CEO Deena Giltz McCullough to get a better look at what Small Business Saturday is all about and what it means for Northern Insuring Agency.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 as a way to support small businesses and encourage people to shop small during the holiday season. Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday has become a call to action in support of shopping local, where you can support friends and neighbors in your community.
What Are the Benefits of Shopping Local?
In recent years, there has been a push to buy local and support small businesses. And while you may know shopping locally can help boost the economy in your community, you may not be aware of all the other benefits of buying from a local business.
1. Keeps Money Local
When you shop at a small, locally owned business, the money you spend stays in your community. This is because small businesses are more likely to buy from other local businesses, which in turn supports the local economy. This is opposed to big box stores, which often source their products from outside the community.
It also helps to create more jobs. Small businesses are vital for this country’s success, and when you shop at a small business, you’re supporting the creation and maintenance of jobs in your area.
2. More Eco-Friendly
While some of the benefits of Small Business Saturday and shopping local are obvious and tangible - like keeping the money in the local economy - others may be less apparent.
For example, shopping locally dramatically reduces your carbon footprint. This is because goods sold by local businesses have typically traveled a shorter distance than those sold by large corporations. This reduced transportation results in fewer harmful emissions being released into the environment.
“Take fast fashion, for instance, or something that is being produced on a mass scale and is not sustainable. We’d be better off to support a local thrift shop while repurposing some items at the same time,” says Collin.
3. Opportunities for More Unique Experiences
Not only that, but shopping locally allows for a more personalized and unique experience.
That’s important whether you’re looking for a memorable day shopping, dining, and exploring with friends - or if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift that will leave a lasting mark during the holiday gift-giving season.
“We can buy ‘cookie cutter’ items or experience uninspired chain restaurant meals, or we can enjoy a more personalized and tailored experience by supporting locals,” says Collin.
4. Builds a Culture of Community
Last but not least, shopping locally helps to create a strong community culture where its members rely on each other and work hard to make sure everyone is successful.
It “supports people who live, work, and play right here with us. This is a domino effect,” says Deena.
How to Recognize Small Business Saturday
You may already know that it’s a good idea to frequent your local mom-and-pop shops on Small Business Saturday - but there are other steps you can take, too. Here’s a closer look.
1. Shop Local
One of the best (and most obvious) ways to support small businesses is by shopping at them!
Make an effort to do all of your holiday shopping at small businesses in your community. You’re sure to find one-of-a-kind gifts while supporting the local economy.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds at the mall on Black Friday!
2. Share the Love
Another great way to support small businesses is by sharing your positive experiences with others. Write a review on Google or Facebook, or tell your friends and family about your great experience. Word-of-mouth marketing is very powerful, so help a local business by leaving a positive review.
Remember, Small Business Saturday isn’t just about spending money at local businesses, but doing what we can to support, encourage, and uplift them.
“The best thing we can do is look around, take stock in ourselves, and truly see what makes this community a dynamic and great place to live that exists because we support one another throughout the year," says Collin. "The best way to celebrate Small Business Saturday is to visit your favorite local businesses … and also to spread some support and affirmations to the business owners who are the bedrock of this community.”
3. Have a Plan
Before you head out to shop, it’s a good idea to have a plan. Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for and brainstorm some ideas of what you’d like to get them. That way, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and make the most of your time (and money!) while supporting small businesses.
“Bring some friends with you and make a list of a few places that you haven’t been to before. Make a list of what you are looking for online and see if you can find it on Small Business Saturday locally,” says Deena.
By being organized, you can make the most of this special occasion and ensure your favorite local businesses receive all the love and community support they deserve.
4. Don’t Stop With Just One Day
While Small Business Saturday is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the businesses that work so hard to keep our community running, it’s important to remember it shouldn’t be the only day you do so.
Instead, this year and every year moving forward, take some time to think about how you can keep more of your money local.
Are you buying local meat and produce? Purchasing unique gifts from the artisan down the street? Going to a play at the local theater rather than watching yet another movie on Netflix?
There are countless ways you can support the local economy - so take some time this Small Business Saturday to come up with a plan for the rest of the year as well.
How Northern Insuring Agency is Recognizing This (and Every) Small Business Saturday
So how does Northern Insuring Agency, as a small business of its own right, give back to the community - and recognize this important holiday?
“Northern Insuring has a strong history of service … it goes right back to our roots with E. Glenn Giltz. The idea is that if we take care of the North Country, the North Country – in turn – will take care of us,” says Collin.
“The most immediate example is our recent yard sale that netted over $1,000 for a local SPCA (Elmore SPCA). We also are a leader in employee contributions to the United Way. We put forth this effort as an agency in good faith and through the years, we believe this has increased local customers’ faith in us,” writes Collin.
And it’s not all about the nitty gritty of insurance. Deena says, “We show up for so many community events, dress up in themed outfits, support silent and live auctions, contribute our time on boards and personal contributions that add to our corporate contributions. We sponsor events, too – [a] golf tournament & Women in Business ([via the] North Country Chamber [of Commerce]) and Stepping Out for Your Heart (The Foundation at CVPH). ”
Northern Insuring Agency is a close-knit team that enjoys the camaraderie that comes with being in the company of others in the community.