Even beyond the holiday season, your local community is in need of you.

If there's one thing we learned in 2020, it's that we all need to help better serve our communities. One simple way to do just that is to support small local businesses. For nearly a year, restaurants, salons, retail stores, and other small establishments remained shuttered. Many of these businesses rely on regular shopping foot traffic, and the volume of shoppers dropped when businesses were forced to close as a means to control the spread of the virus. While you likely took part in Small Business Saturday this past holiday season, it's only one out of many days to purchase goods from these retailers. It's important to find ways to support these businesses all year long.

So, what can you do to help? Here, we suggest five simple ways to shop locally or show your support to local businesses all year round.

Shop online.

The first thing that all of us can do is identify the small businesses in our local community that we can support. Look for bodegas, vintage stores, clothing boutiques, bakeries, restaurants, book stores, toy stores, and more that could be in and around your neighborhood. Then, spread your search into other neighborhoods that have small businesses.

While a visit in person may not be feasible as we enter another wave of the pandemic, it's worthwhile to check if the business has a virtual storefront where you can shop their inventory online. This will help support the business in a financial way even if they must close their doors. Online ordering is also a convenient way to shop any time of the year.

Order takeout or delivery.

Restaurants and bakeries may have limited to no indoor dining at this time, but you can support these small food establishments by ordering takeout food or delivery. Order directly from their websites instead of through third-party sites where possible to ensure that the restaurant gets the majority of the money. Make sure to tip workers well.

young female potter using hand tool on vase while standing against shelves at store
Credit: Maskot / Getty Images

Follow on social media.

Does your favorite coffee shop or bookstore have a social media presence? Follow them on social media, share their posts, and share your love for the brand. It's a small way to help—especially if you are tight on funds on your own. Even better: Tell your friends about your favorite small businesses. Word of mouth is one of the best ways that small businesses can get new business, so share what you like with your friends and family.

Pay full price.

Large retailers don't lose as much money with coupons or steep discounts but a small business often has higher costs associated with their specialty goods and lose more money if their items are deeply reduced in price. If you really like an item and have the money to pay full price, buy it now instead of waiting until it's on the discount rack.

Be kind.

This is a simple, every day to show appreciation for a small business. Kindness toward the associates will go a long way. Retail and service workers often have to deal with unkind people on a daily basis, and the least that all of us can do is to be reasonable and kind toward others.


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