Lately I am seeing a lot of buildings with signs that say “Space for Rent.” Local businesses are going out of business at an alarming rate. The recession has Americans tightening their grips on their wallets. Everyone is cutting back on shopping and that is great, it is a time for saving. However, if you do need to shop, try shopping in small, local businesses to help them out during this difficult time.
I would much rather shop Main Street in any town than brave the mall. I abhor crowds surging through the mall, the bright lights, and the air of materialism. I am proud to say I have not set foot in a mall in many years. Most towns have a plethora of interesting shops on Main Street (or whatever the shopping street is called there) for fashion, art, crafts, books, hardware, and anything else you need.
I avoid Kmart and the other big box stores and buy my supplies at local stores. It is nice to think that my essentials such as dish soap and so on are purchased somewhere that may help a family keep a business strong.
There are many occasions where one needs to shop even in this tough economy. When you do shop why not do a “good deed” and support local businesses?
If you need a wedding present for someone go to a local crafts store and find some unique handmade pillows, pottery, art or photography. Or find a lovely crystal vase at the local Irish store or any décor store.
If you are the bride find your gown at a local shop. Right now the bridal shop in my town has a big, poufy strapless wedding gown in the window. Walking down the street it gives one a blast of fashion to see what kind of lovely gown is in the window of the bridal shop.
Get your flowers from an independent florist. Support your local florist and get the best personal attention to boot. Local florists are more hands on with their customers than large, national florists. Obtaining flowers from a local florist for a wedding or event is always a wonderful experience and builds a relationship with the florist that may last for decades.
Even the local hardware store has some great birthday gifts. If it is summer time the hardware store will probably have some cute outdoor wear and colorful fashion items. My local hardware store does. I have some summer flip flops from my local hardware store that people always comment on. They are unique and fun. One black pair with some bling on the straps elicits comments from total strangers!
Hardware stores also sell things like savings books (little notebook with individual pockets to save for different goals.). These books are a fun birthday gift to encourage the wee ones to save their money.
There are a myriad of unique gift ideas in any local hardware store. For example, gardening tools and flower bulbs, posters, beach supplies, frames for art, decorative items, and many other fun items.
Have a shopping adventure at a small grocery store in town. These shops often offer unique goods at prices that often beat the prices at large super markets. It is fun to browse small grocery stores and find ingredients that are new to you. I find the big box grocery stores too bright and sterile at times; I love the mellow experience of shopping in a “Mom and Pop” grocery store every now and then and getting to know the business owner.
Support local businesses in your area. Shopping locally is also a great way to network. You get to know members of the town and build loyalty and friendships by giving your business to the local shops.