5 Ways to Support Small Businesses This Holiday Season

A young child holding hands with his parents and looking at a holiday window display.

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Local businesses help communities thrive. Here's how to support yours.

Key points

  • Many small businesses have struggled during the pandemic.
  • These establishments are important for communities, and consumers should make every effort to help them stay afloat, including writing reviews.

Though a lot of businesses were hit hard by the pandemic, small businesses may have struggled the most. While aid was made available to local establishments in the form of PPP loans, that money only went so far.

Now, as the holidays approach, small businesses may be counting on local support more than ever to stay afloat. Here are five things you can do as an individual consumer to help your neighborhood's small businesses keep their doors open.

1. Buy gift cards from small businesses

Gift cards are a great thing for small businesses because they're a source of instant revenue. If you have picky people on your holiday shopping list, it pays to purchase gift cards from local businesses, provided your loved ones have access to those stores or that there's an option to purchase items online and have them shipped for a reasonable fee. That'll show you put some thought into your gifts, as opposed to falling back on large retailers like Target and Amazon.

2. Write rave reviews

You don't need to spend money at local businesses to help them thrive. Another good way to offer your support is to write positive reviews on sites like Yelp and community social media pages. If you tell your neighbors the local pizza joint in town just served you the best eggplant sub you've ever eaten, that could inspire a lot more visits -- and result in a lot more revenue.

3. Meet friends there

The next time your friends ask to meet for dinner at a well-known chain restaurant, suggest visiting a local joint instead. Chances are, you'll enjoy a more unique menu and the prices may be comparable or even more competitive. Along these lines, resist the urge to hang out at your nearest Starbucks if there's an independent coffee shop a few blocks away that's teetering on the edge of having to close.

4. Host events there

You never know when a small business may be open to a holiday event. Rather than cram people into your home for a holiday party, see if a local cafe will allow you to take over the premises for the night. It'll save you the hassle of clean-up duty and could make for a more unique experience.

5. Shop there

Of course, one of the best ways to support small businesses during the holidays is to shop there as often as possible, whether it's for items you use yourself or items you plan to give as gifts. Now, you might pay a little more buying products from a local business as opposed to a big-box store. If doing so will be a strain on your finances, that's not the best move -- you shouldn't risk credit card debt for the sake of doing a nice thing. But if you can swing it, you might benefit from higher-quality products and better customer service.

Small businesses are important for communities. They create local jobs and help property values rise or stay strong. It pays to do what you can to support local businesses during the holidays -- and really, all year round.

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