This year, as you embark on your annual holiday shopping frenzy, I challenge you to think outside the box… or more specifically, the big box stores. Whether you live in Vancouver or Halifax, Montreal or Regina, there are plenty of local stores worth exploring. Here are five reasons why you should consider shopping local this year:
1) The mall kinda sucks. I dunno about you, but I try to avoid the mall as best I can this time of year. From the minute you enter the parking lot, it starts to get intense. Limited parking, congestion, and oblivious pedestrians; it’s enough to make any driver a little frustrated. Once you’ve finally made it inside the mall, the crowds can be overwhelming. Lines, crying children and pushy sales clerks. Ugh. And then before you know it, you’ve worked up an appetite and you start to get ‘hangry’. Yikes – that’s an experience one could stand to do without!
2) Get more bang for your buck. Did you know that when you shop locally, your money can actually have a positive impact on the local economy? Yup, local businesses tend to spend more money locally themselves and that has a number of pretty great spin-off effects. Supporting local businesses means supporting new economic growth in your community, which in turn, means the creation of new jobs and wages. Alternatively, when you shop at the mall, it’s pretty safe to say that your money won’t be staying to support the local economy – it’s likely headed south of the border.
3) Give back. Local businesses also do a lot to support the community. Owners are more inclined to support local charities, community organizations or initiatives, meaning that when you shop locally for your loved ones this holiday season, you’re spreading a lot more holiday cheer than you think!
4) Enjoy the experience. Whether you’re strolling down Johnson Street in Victoria, 17th Avenue in Calgary, Queen West in Toronto, or Spring Garden Road in Halifax, there’s something rather enjoyable about popping in and out of unique stores that line the street. It feels as though you’re getting to know the city on a whole new level. And this time of year, it’s fun to get out and experience the holiday spirit. It’s a much more intimate shopping experience and dare I say, a little more pleasant for those of us that aren’t the savviest of shoppers to begin with.
5) Get unique gifts. Another great reason to shop local is the simple fact that you can often find something different. If your looking for a gift that’s a little less mainstream and a little more meaningful, shopping local is definitely the way to go. You’re more apt to find that special something that’s as unique as the person you’re shopping for.
So, before you brave the mall this month, give the local shopping scene a try. Wear your toque, grab a coffee from the neighbourhood cafe and make a day of it! I can guarantee that you’ll find the experience refreshing and a lot less hectic.
Feature image found on We Heart It.