12 reasons to shop local for the holidays

At this time of year, we typically run a local holiday shopping guide. I’d like to say it’s a reader favorite, but the truth is we get underwhelming feedback on it from readers and businesses alike.

We hope to replace it next month with a guide to holiday events and programs that will take place in the community throughout December.

But our message about supporting neighborhood businesses is as relevant as ever: Please shop local for the holidays.

Here are 12 reasons why:

  1. It’s personal. The people who run local independent businesses tend to be deeply embedded in the community. They’re friends and neighbors. So who manages the nearby big box stores? Have you ever met them? Where do they live, shop, send their kids to school?
  2. Small-business owners have invested everything specifically to serve the people who live nearby. Simply put, they care more about us.
  3. In the trade-off between the services used and the tax revenue delivered, specialty retailers bring in more than they cost for communities like ours, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Big boxes cost more than they bring in.  
  4. Local businesses carry unique, curated merchandise—often from other local businesses and artisans—for gifts you won’t find anywhere else.
  5. A larger portion of the money spent at local shops gets recirculated within the community, creating a multiplier effect. Most of the money spent at a big box gets sent back to headquarters.
  6. Your kids aren’t likely to get a donation from a big box or a restaurant chain to support the band, soccer team or other causes that are important to you and your family.
  7. Small-business owners worry most about their customers. Corporate CEOs are chiefly concerned with investor returns, and will likely never set foot in the stores they operate here.
  8. The Heights Observer is supported almost entirely through advertising from local businesses and organizations. Without them, this and other community assets couldn’t exist.
  9. Small businesses don’t get tax abatement, open overseas holding companies to avoid taxes, or outsource labor to low-cost countries. They also pay proportionally more in taxes than large corporate stores.  
  10. Small businesses don’t vacate giant blocks of real estate, turning entire shopping plazas into acres of blight.   
  11. Small businesses don’t hire corporate lobbyists or make dark-money donations to influence elections.
  12. We are what we do. If you like living in a community with lively business districts, the most impactful thing you can do to keep them is to spend money in them—during the holidays and also year-round. 

Bob Rosenbaum

Cleveland Heights resident Bob Rosenbaum is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee, and is responsible for its advertising sales and market development.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 10:05 AM, 11.01.2022