I am a writer living in Annerley, Brisbane. I write about my suburb and other local spots. If you like my articles please subscribe (just after my name) or 'like' at the end of the post to let me know what else I should write! I love comments too :)
Published October 8th 2014
Don't buy from the big boys, go to your friendly local store
This time of year really gets me thinking about where I want to spend my money for Christmas. Each year I encourage as many people as possible to purchase from small or indie businesses in either 'bricks and mortar' shops, markets or even online. When people question me as to why they should spend their money with individuals rather than at the big chain stores, these are a few of the reasons I give them.
10. If you spend your money locally you will be keeping it in the local economy. Let that small business or crafter know that you're spending your money with them because you want to keep your money local and it might inspire them to do the same. I'm definitely not an economist but the more we keep our cash in our city/state/country, the better off we will be instead of sending it off overseas by way of gifts from big box stores.
Boundary Street Markets, West End - Photo by Kath Chown
9. You can find unique and special gifts. Usually a small or local business has different things in store compared to larger companies and might even be able to order you something in particular. If you're buying from a maker or artisan, they can even make you something custom. Imagine your recipient's face on Christmas morning when you have found the perfect colour or had their gift engraved with their name.
8. You can help the environment. By shopping around at smaller and independant stores, you can find gifts that are ethically sourced or eco friendly. Many larger companies are catching on to this as a selling practice and 'Green Wash' a lot of their products. However, when you speak to your friendly local business-owner, they will be able to tell you more about the product you're buying and you can make sure it meets your eco standards.
7. Avoid the big shopping centres. Most small businesses are located in quieter shopping districts where you're not inside a factory-sized building where you can't see outside. Shopping at markets allows you to shop outside or in unique destinations. Even if there are crowds, it's easy to pop out for a break when it gets too busy and grab a coffee at a local cafe or just for a walk on the streets.
5 Quirky Cherubs, Mitchelton - Photo by Kath Chown
6. Support your neighbour or just a fellow human being. If you buy from a small business or artist, you are helping them to achieve their dream. You can help another person to keep running their store or making their unique handmade products.
5. Get it gift wrapped. Often small businesses will gift wrap your items for free or for a small charge. It's one less thing to add to your to-do list this Christmas!
4. Know the origin story of your gift. If you talk to the person behind the counter at an indie business or the maker at a market, you can ask them exactly where it came from and why it's special. This is especially true for handmade products as you can get to know the person who used their hands to make it for you to give to your loved one.
BrisStyle Indie Markets, City Hall - Photo by Kath Chown
Handmade High Street, Annerley - Photo by Kath Chown
3. Shopping local creates jobs. If you buy more from your local businesses, they can employ more local people to serve you. These people will in turn spend some of their wages back into the local economy.
2. Save money. Don't let those big box stores fool you. You might get some discounts and specials but on the whole, items are far more expensive as those businesses cover high rental fees, large electricity bills and much more. You will also save on petrol, parking and travel fees by simply purchasing from a shop round the corner instead. Often small businesses can also give you discounts where employees in large businesses don't have the authority.
1. Be a local champion. Get to know your local store owners and they will reward you as they get to know your specific needs, the names of your kids and your likes and dislikes. You will FEEL GOOD and have genuine friendships just like it used to be. Tell your neighbours and friends about great independent shops you find and help those businesses thrive.
Presents of Mind, Paddington - Photo by Kath Chown