Before “Support Local” became a trending hashtag—and rightfully so—the idea of small, locally owned business was almost always relegated back to the “moms and pops” of the neighbourhood, aka the Mom and Pop shops. Named as such due to their independent, family-owned nature, Mom and Pop shops have become a staple of historic neighbourhoods, city culture, and small town pride. As today marks the official National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day (it’s a real thing, started in 1939!), we wanted to take a moment and go over some of the few things that you can do to help support the local businesses in your area.
Probably goes without saying, but to support a local business, you need to buy from a local business. But rather than search for every independent store on different strips and blocks in your town, use the power of the internet to seek out what you need:
Etsy is a great source for finding unique, handcrafted, and locally sourced gifts, trinkets, or even just every-day items. You can search by item, sort by price, and by location as well. With the pandemic, many business owners may have missed out on their opportunity to set up a physical store or booth at a market, but platforms like Etsy still gives them a chance to operate their own business and get supported by people like you.
Did you know that you could help support small businesses on Amazon as well? It’s a bit of a hidden feature, but if you follow this link, you can pick a region based on your location and start searching for the items you need, and all the local businesses who sell those items will be populated instead.
Likewise, many businesses rely on their social media presence to get the word out that they a) are present, and b) have the product(s) that you’re looking for. Finding them may seem like searching for a needle in a haystack, but there are some tips you can follow to weed them out:
- Search for tags that are relevant to your town. For example, I would search for “#waterlooregion” or any other variation of my city of Waterloo to find all posts that used that hashtag. Most local businesses will be sure to use relevant location hashtags so that people like yourself can find them!
- If scrolling through search results doesn’t sound like your ideal afternoon activity, try to find local profiles dedicated to highlighting the different businesses and attraction that your town has to offer. Hey, maybe your town even has its own Instagram account you can look up!
Another great resource for finding local gems is your good ol’ Facebook account. Luckily, the search function there is a bit more conventional and easy to use. Simply search for phrases such as “[your town/city name]” and “local” and it will provide you with not only a list of groups (most likely public/open) for you to join and find out about all the different local initiatives and businesses in your area, but it will even populate Facebook profiles of local businesses that you can immediately check out.
If you’re not in the market to buy anything, you can also show some support by purchasing a gift card for a friend or family member, or by simply following their social profiles, giving their pages some love, and spreading the word.