Local Holiday Gift Guide

Boombox print by Sarah Dudek Paintings & Prints. Photo by Emily Piper.

What Happens When You Shop Local?

Did you know that when you shop locally, three times as much money stays in your home city compared to when you shop at a chain?

That’s because local business owners are more likely to utilize other local services, according to Somerville Local First Executive Director Courtney O’Keefe.

“They frequent other local businesses,” O’Keefe says. “They like to conduct their businesses locally, whether it’s hiring a local attorney, hiring local web designers, local HR people, local accountants, they like everything to be within an arm’s length. So when you spend money at a locally owned independent business, you’re really contributing to other businesses.”

The difference is even more stark compared to shopping online: spending your money locally keeps close to 50 times as much money at home versus when you buy “from an online mega-retailer,” according to the American Independent Business Alliance.

Shopping in November and December is especially crucial for small, local businesses, O’Keefe explains.

“Holiday shopping can possibly be the difference between being able to remain open and not being able to remain open,” she says. “Especially for local artists and local makers, it’s a time where they can make sales that not only carry them over throughout the new year and into the spring and sometimes into the summer, but also gives them that capital to buy new materials, maybe venture off into making more products and increasing their inventory.”

If you’re already buying into shopping locally, there are still things you can do to further support your city’s businesses. First, patronize “the people who don’t necessarily have a storefront,” O’Keefe suggests: Somerville Local First will hold artist markets on Nov. 25 and Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arts at the Armory. Second, consider carrying cash when you’re doing your holiday shopping—credit and debit card fees can pose a real issue to small businesses, especially on low-priced items.

Local Gift Guide

Gift guide words and photos by Emily Piper unless otherwise noted.

This story originally appeared in the Celebrating the Season issue of Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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