Support Locally Owned Small Businesses

Shopping small this holiday season is not only a boon for small businesses but also a smart choice for consumers. According to data from QuickBooks, consumer spending is projected to reach a staggering $125 million, marking a substantial 42 percent increase from last year. Moreover, recent studies highlight a growing trend: three in five consumers are more inclined to make holiday purchases from locally owned small businesses.

This surge in support is particularly good news for Billings, a city teeming with over 8,200 businesses that serve as a vital retail and dining hub for the region. The Billings Chamber, representing 1,150 member businesses, underscores the economic significance of small businesses in the community. Nationally, small businesses play a pivotal role, constituting 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S., totaling a remarkable 33.2 million, according to the US Chamber.

Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, the stress and exhaustion of navigating crowded retail spaces are familiar sentiments. However, the antidote may lie in choosing to shop at small businesses. The personalized services and unique goods offered by local establishments create a more enjoyable and stress-free shopping experience. Surprisingly, nearly 59 percent of consumers agree that shopping at small businesses is less stressful than tackling the aisles of larger retail stores. It’s a testament to the significant impacts and benefits of supporting local businesses during the holidays, far beyond the immediate relief from stress.

Additional benefits include:

  • Unique items and specialized products not found anywhere else
  • Expand one’s horizons to new brands and options
  • Opportunities for special orders
  • Local expertise
  • Personal styling and personalized shopping experiences
  • Community Support:
    • Supporting local businesses helps strengthen the local economy by circulating money within the community.
    • Local businesses often contribute to community events, charities, and initiatives, fostering a sense of community well-being.
  • Environmental Impact:
    • Local businesses typically have a smaller carbon footprint as they source products locally and contribute less to transportation-related emissions.
  • Job Creation:
    • Small businesses are often significant sources of employment in local communities, helping to create jobs and reduce unemployment rates.
  • Personal Connections:
    • Building relationships with local shop owners can lead to a more personalized and enjoyable shopping experience. You’re not just a customer; you become part of a community.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability:
    • Local businesses can often adapt more quickly to changing customer needs and preferences allowing them to offer a more flexible and responsive shopping experience.
  • Preservation of Local Character:
    • Supporting local businesses helps maintain the unique character and charm of a community, preventing it from becoming a generic, homogenized urban or suburban area.
  • Cultural Diversity:
    • Local businesses often reflect the cultural diversity of a community, offering a wide range of products and services that cater to different tastes and preferences.
  • Quality and Craftsmanship:
    • Many local businesses take pride in the quality of their products, often crafted with care and attention to detail. This focus on quality can result in longer-lasting and unique items.
  • Encouraging Entrepreneurship:
    • Supporting local businesses encourages entrepreneurship, fostering a dynamic business environment and providing opportunities for individuals to pursue their passions.
  • Faster Service and Convenience:
    • Smaller, local businesses may offer quicker and more personalized service. You might be able to get assistance, find what you need, and check out more efficiently compared to larger establishments.
  • Innovation and Uniqueness:
    • Local businesses often bring innovation and uniqueness to the market, introducing new products or services that may not be readily available in larger retail stores.
  • Sustainability Practices:
    • Local businesses may be more inclined to implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices, contributing to a more environmentally conscious shopping experience.
    • By choosing to shop small and local, consumers can make a positive impact on their communities, the environment, and the overall shopping experience.

“Local support is huge because if people are coming in our doors and supporting us, we can in turn support them,” says Katie Moldenahuer, owner of Giddy Up.

The Billings Chamber is a champion for business and during the holidays shines a light on small, locally owned businesses through Keep The Cheer Here, sponsored by Western Security Bank, and the Keep the Cheer Here Trolley Tour on December 5. We invite you to shop, eat and explore Billings this holiday season!