Support local: Why small businesses in your community need you this holiday season

Shop local. We’ve all heard this phrase, and it’s vital to our Manitoba community.

Local businesses are extremely important for our economies. Not only do they create jobs and encourage entrepreneurship, but they bring a lot of growth, innovation and support to our communities.

That’s because the people running small businesses are your community members, friends and maybe even your family. When you shop with them, you’re greeted as a neighbour and offered a unique and personalized experience. As consumers, we can play our part. During the holiday season, there are many creative ways you can support local businesses.

Couple holiday shopping

Get a head start on holiday gift shopping for your family and friends with these eight ways to support local businesses:

1. Think of small local businesses first

Whether you’re buying gifts, holiday decorations or searching for deals, you can help small businesses in your community by choosing to shop with them instead of multinational chains or online retailers. Before you order something from Amazon, check to see if a local vendor carries the item.

2. Ask local shops for delivery

Ask stores you frequently shop at if they are willing to offer delivery during the holiday season. Think of toy stores, florists or any other locally run shop that can use your support. Use this opportunity to have gifts delivered to friends and family in other neighbourhoods, cities or towns, and give them a nice surprise—even from a distance.

Support local coffee shops

3. Celebrate the holidays with a tasty restaurant

Looking to have a special meal at your favourite spot this season? Reserving your table in advance is a very good idea this time of year. If you’re not able to dine in, consider takeout or catering. At home, put on music, set the table and create a warm holiday atmosphere at your dining room table with a fun holiday theme. Your guests will appreciate the effort and your local restaurant will be thankful for the support.

4. Buy gift cards

Small businesses need cash flow, and the best way to help them is to buy gift cards. They’re practical and take the pressure off you to find the perfect present. You can also donate them to local charities or someone you know who is in need.

5. Gift swaps featuring finds from local shops

If you’re exchanging gifts at work with your coworkers, make it a fun rule to buy from local stores only. You can even encourage your colleagues to each provide a few local vendors they love, so that whoever draws their name has a head start on where to shop. Also, if your coworkers live outside your neighbourhood, this is a great way to support their local businesses!

6. Use social media

Social media is a powerful tool for communication and marketing. And small businesses couldn’t ask for a better gift than some free advertising from their customers. Consider sharing promos and products or services from your local vendors with your personal social media network, encouraging others to buy local this year for the holidays.

7. Just ask

Ask your local vendors if they offer any special services or products. Even if you have a limited budget yourself and can’t spend a lot on products or services, you can find out if there are other ways to help. For example, they might ask you to leave them a positive Google review based on a past customer experience.

Support local: Dinner with friends Silver Heights Restaurant

8. Be generous

Tips are always appreciated by service workers, but right now they can make all the difference in the world. Next time you have something delivered at home or order food from a delivery app, don’t forget to tip a little extra if your budget allows for it.

You can also show support without spending much money. Be generous to local vendors or service workers by offering them donations or small gifts as a token of appreciation. You can also volunteer some time or your skills to businesses that might need an extra hand this holiday season. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can help by creating an eye-catching flyer or digital marketing material.

L-R: Hyera Chong and Hidemi Mitamura work at Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company in Winnipeg Wolseley’s neighbourhood.

4 Winnipeg businesses to support this season:

  • Anne Mulaire: This Indigenous fashion brand produces quality, zero-waste clothing in various sizes, aiming to inspire regenerative solutions for people and the planet. Their Holiday Gift Guide is filled with timeless pieces that come in inclusive sizing.
  • Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company: To feed last-minute guests, be sure to keep this Winnipeg favourite’s pies, pastries and cookies on hand. Plus, check out their take-home meals and soups.
  • Frescolio: Gourmet olive oil and vinegar are great ideas for the foodie in your life, and the beautiful packaging from this local boutique will make your gift even more special.
  • St. Norbert Farmers’ Market: This year-round market offers plenty of gift ideas, such as pottery and candles, along with treats for hosts, such as chocolate, jams, coffee, tea and baked goods.

Stay financially festive this holiday season with ACU

Whether or not you run your own business, this may also be a time of year when you’re working through financial shifts and challenges. As we’ve probably all experienced, holiday shopping can be a time when we spend more money than expected.

Women regretting buying too many gifts for the holidays

For advice and support, you can always speak with an ACU financial advisor to find strategies and solutions to help.

During this time (and always), it’s vital to borrow responsibly, and only within your means. Although you don’t want to add more debt, if you’re looking for a loan, then find one with flexible repayment schedules that do not penalize you for making early payments. Before applying for a loan, determine how much you can afford and calculate how much you might be eligible to borrow based on your income and expenses. Once again, your ACU financial advisor can help you with this calculation, and help you choose between variable or fixed interest rates.

Get advice that aligns with your values.

No matter the season, make a financial health check-up part of your new normal.

This simple step could help you reach your financial dreams sooner than you think. Simply click this link to get started. An ACU financial advisor will work with you to evaluate, plan and get you headed in the right direction.

up next

Four ways to keep spending in check this holiday season

About Rubain Manzoor

Rubain Manzoor is a data-driven freelance content strategist. She's on a mission to make boring business blogs and websites interesting, and focuses on an inbound approach to strategy and writing. When she's not working, she's binge-watching her favourite show or discovering new eats for her upcoming food blog.

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