Shopping Local and Small is Safer than Ever

Local merchants and shopkeepers do more to care for and protect their customers and employees than any big box or mall

“Cover your nose, (*pause)—it’s not fully covered, tighten the ears!” When Tina at Green with ENVY in Charlotte rightfully instructed me and others in the store, I knew she isn’t alone—focused on serving her guests and her community while following best practices and the law.

And she is not alone. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with local merchants all over the country, on MainStreet’s, cool neighborhoods and off the beaten paths. And here’s what I’ve learned:

Small business is tough. Retail is a tough business. It’s challenging in “normal times” and with the pandemic it’s become super tough. But you know what? Merchants are tough too, and flexible and adaptable. 

In towns and cities where tourism and travel are up to 80% of their annual revenues, they need our support more than ever.

As for 2020 and COVID-19, with decreasing revenue, local merchants have placed shopper limits, offer sanitization options, require and provide mask—all at their own cost. And for the most part, not one complains. They just want to serve their guests.

While in stores recently, a customer mentioned to me that she felt like she was in the owner’s home. Not because of the decor and the assortment, rather she felt safe, like a welcomed guest whose host wanted her to be relaxed, feel safe, enjoy her visit and depart feeling better than when she entered. Great perspective!

They respect and care for their employees and communities in personal ways. In addition to employing a small team, most local merchants live in their communities. Like the accountants, lawyers, plumbers, teachers and first responders, they are part of their towns/neighborhoods. 

We respect those who adapt, adjust and stay true to their core mission, while appreciating individuality. Most merchants, being open tomorrow at 10 is their life. Their employees are their lifeblood.  Customers are guests and guests are treasures, like the products they sell.

They care, truly care.

As for the big boxes? They’re doing their best to protect the masses and it’s not easy. I come from that world. Not one major retailer is going to miss the $100 you spend with a local retailer. 

What can you do? Support them today, tomorrow and Monday. Then next Friday and Sunday, then the next Saturday. Well you get the point. They have great unique items, great gift ideas, and they have heart.

Not only are they protecting you, they truly care.