Simple ways to support local business

Supporting local shops can be as simple as a thumbs up or as extravagant as a custom shirt


You have heard it said before, whenever possible, shop at local businesses instead of big-box stores or online retailers. Where you choose to spend your hard earned money can help keep the local economy thriving and support your neighbors.

The character of rural communities comes from its restaurants, art studios and variety of resale shops. Without places like Joe’s Pizza, Lot 50 and Sheweys Art Studio the soul of the community would go missing, and so would the people.

Supporting local businesses ensures that our community will have storefronts, activities and resources in the future, instead of hollow and empty spaces that are boarded up.

Small businesses also support local initiatives, parents who are also business owners are counting on the dollars they earn to pay their bills, enroll their children in local dance classes and softball leagues.

The money we spend at local businesses pours back into our community. Small businesses donate a whopping 250 percent more to local charities and organizations than big businesses do.

Here are 10 ways you can choose to support local businesses. Some of them are simple, some require a little extra effort and some require no monetary investment at all.

Visit your farmer’s market

Do you know where your food comes from? You will if you purchase produce from your local farmer’s market. Produce grown locally is often fresher than what you’ll find on grocery store shelves and sometimes it’s grown by your next door neighbor.

The Downtown Paris Farmers Market has become an annual tradition on Saturday mornings from 8a.m. to 11a.m during the summer. They welcome all kinds of vendors with all kinds of goods, including homemade bread, fresh vegetables, honey and crafts.

Take a class

Small businesses often offer classes to supplement their offerings. Local gyms like the Rec are full of complimentary classes for members and inexpensive classes for the gym-curious.

If you’re looking for a fun night out, Winelogy offers a variety of wine-education classes, tastings and easy hands-on projects that can get you out of the house and into a new environment.

Local libraries are always full of education, classes and new opportunities to learn more about what goes on in a community, often free of charge.

Tag local businesses

Supporting local businesses can be as simple as sharing photos of them on facebook. The next time you grab a drink from Stagecoach Coffee snap a photo and post it with a thumbs up.

Make a quick Instagram reel featuring your favorite new shirt from Old Heritage Boutique, or the quesadilla you had for lunch from San Marcos. Promoting the local places and things you love online costs nothing extra and it is a great way to share new places and ideas with friends and family members.

The more people hear about the great places available near you, the more they will be inspired to come and try them. The more reputable businesses become the longer they will last.

Wear the merch

How to support local businesses without constantly buying the same products? Buy and wear its merch. Businesses often have t-shirts, hats, mugs, stickers and sweatshirts branded with the business logo. Support local businesses by purchasing a piece of merch, and then support them again and again by wearing or using it.

Favorite landscapers? Favorite bank? Favorite coffee shop? Favorite school? They all have a logo that can be added to your wardrobe, bonus points for having a local business like Midwest Threads or D21 Designs create the merch.

Sign up for newsletters

Signing up for newsletters may not seem super supportive, but it’s a free way to show your appreciation. Small businesses often run promotions that newsletter subscribers hear about first, so you’ll hear about special sales before others do.

Florists like Ginger Blossoms have fabulous newsletters that keep clients updated and informed even in the off season.

Pay attention to needs

Sometimes local businesses will put out calls for help. The business might be collecting donations for a worthy cause, or need supplies for a project. The business might need volunteers for a beautification project, or volunteers for an ongoing program like tutoring. If there’s a need you can meet, get involved.

Volunteering with a local business is a wonderful way to make connections in your community. Check with organizations like The Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, HRC and even Horizon Health to see if there is a local shop or group you can get involved with.

Hire small businesses

Choosing to hire a small business professional supports their work and saves you time. Need landscaping done? Call Grass Roots or Two Broke Guys. Try making a list of tasks that you spend too much time on and see where you can outsource the work to a local person or entity.

Instead of picking up a cake from the grocery store, purchase one from a Blessed Baking.

Hire a local handyman to fix leaky faucets, clean gutters, and make other home repairs.

Skip filing your own taxes and employ a registered accountant to sort through your important documents and receipts.

Comment, like, subscribe and share

Small businesses put a lot of work into posting on social media, even though most business owners have many other responsibilities to tend to. It’s a job that takes a lot of time and strategy, so the least you could do is boost their engagement by liking posts, commenting occasionally and sharing posts into your feed so your audience sees them.

Here are a few easy ways to support businesses for free on social media:

Comment on social media posts when you can. Maybe that means answering a question the Hand Me Down Resale posted, or raving about the effectiveness of a product on a post from Bridgetts. Comment away whenever it feels natural.

Use Instagram’s “Support Small” sticker. Whenever you share a photo of your Fizz beverage in your Instagram stories, place the “Support Small” sticker in the corner so they can direct viewers to its content. Tag the business so it can reshare your story to its story.

Leave a positive review

When was the last time you bought a product without checking online reviews? If you’re having a hard time remembering, you’re not alone. Nine out of 10 people worldwide check out reviews before making a purchase—and even negative reviews can have a positive impact on sales.

Go to google reviews and leave a glowing review for your favorite pizza from Monicals, your night out at the newly remodeled bowling alley and the great popcorn and customer service at the movie theater.

Reviews generate word-of-mouth marketing and add credibility to a small business’s reputation.

Leave an honest review about the company’s excellent staff members, the quality of its products or just your thoughts on its vibe. The business staff will appreciate your kind words and it costs nothing.

Buy and gift locally

Rather than decking out your home with prints from retail stores, search for artwork at your local stores, pop into the Link Art Gallery and ask for direction and information about aspiring artists.

Betty Jane’s Mercantile is full of local thrifts, crafters, creators and antiques that make the perfect gift for yourself, or someone else. All of the things purchased benefit a local person and put good back into the community.

Local business, Support, Edgar County