– Southgate Star
This is the third time I’ve picked up the gauntlet and accepted the challenge of encouraging the support of small, local and independent in these publications. The weekend that serves as a focal point comes up fast.
“Shift your Shopping” weekend this year is Nov. 29-30 and I encourage you to get out and support Downriver’s local and independent businesses.
Nov. 29 is Plaid Friday and Nov. 20 is the more well-known Small Business Saturday. I encourage you to participate.
While many spread their shopping for gifts out over more time than just the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many use the much-hyped Black Friday to kick it off.
The weekend after Thanksgiving sees a spike in shopping activity everywhere. Small enjoys the surge as well, but the marketing tsunami from national chains and internet options takes an inordinate amount of the pie as the season gets into higher gear.
It takes an enormous amount of money to advertise like that, money that only publicly traded companies can spend. At a time when it matters a great deal, BIG gains huge advantage over SMALL, through the expenditure of surreal monies to buy our business, and in so doing, to divert as many dollars as possible from independent and locally owned businesses everywhere.
Independent businesses are benefitted tremendously by the increased traffic that comes at this time of year. The stakes at this time of year cannot be overstated. Every transaction matters a great deal to indies. We all do a great deal of work to prepare and ready ourselves, and as the year rushes to a close, time gets compacted. We run out of year; we run out of time to make the year a winner.
Shopping during the holiday season can be exactly as we all remember it, and as it should be – not a ball of stress, not the insane traffic and crowds and lousy service that the malls promise.
Nothing like that at all, as a matter of fact. We simply have to choose the places to shop that offer smiles and warmth and service and uniqueness.
While I write from a vantage point of Wyandotte’s independent businesses, the downriver region is loaded with choices that are guaranteed to make you a happier person this holiday season.
It is more than safe to say that we can all do with anything at all that makes us happier, less stressed, and more grateful. Independent businesses deliver an experience that is just not available elsewhere. I write these columns to remind of that truth.
American Express created Small Business Saturday. We Indies were thrilled to have all that airtime devoted to small, local, independent. Indeed, it worked exactly as American Express planned it for themselves, and it also had a powerfully positive impact on the awareness of millions that really hadn’t given all that much thought to the options of local as opposed to national or internet. Everyone won.
That campaign buttressed the efforts of local-first organizations like Love Wyandotte across the nation, which all strive mightily to provide some wind in the sails for the businesses that comprise their ranks. Organizations that exist not for profit, but for the hopefully increased profit of their membership. For the sole purpose of fostering and catalyzing a more flourishing independent business environment for at least the area in which they operate.
Organizations like this also push back as much as possible against the Black Friday scourge, in the creation of versions that are friendlier to local and independent. Hopefully, now, when you see ads and materials that refer to Plaid Friday, you’ll know a bit more what they’re talking about!
They’re giving you some good, solid advice – some words of wisdom that will improve your entire outlook on life, if only you take heed.
As you do take the advice and shop local and independent this holiday season, let it sink in I’m actually right – you are happier as a result! There are other crucially important reasons to shop local. Like keeping your dollars local to protect and nurture your own well being.
Remember, your community is not made up of totally separate, unrelated sectors like non-profits, residents and businesses. No, your community is all of those and more, all working in miraculous union, just like your own body. Your heart, your limbs, your brain – all working seamlessly to make you what you are. Same with communities. If your business community is compromised, your entire community is lessened.
For now, though, let’s focus on the wonder of the holiday season. If all of us experience it with more warmth and joy by just shopping locally, we ‘ll make a huge difference for all of us to enjoy as the Downriver community!
Shift Your Shopping: Shop local and independent this season.
All any of us would ever ask is that you think local first. During holidays, sure, but all the time!