Martinez: Three reasons to shop less this holiday season | Jobs Reply

The holiday season will look different across the US this year. Rising prices are hitting wallets hard and nearly one-third of Americans plan to spend less on gifts and decorations.

At the same time, local businesses are still recovering from the economic effects of the pandemic, while balancing supply chain challenges and a slowing economy. There’s no doubt that San Jose small businesses need more support this year, as 80% of small businesses report the 2022 holiday season is more important to their overall financial health than last year.

Fortunately, shopping less isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also great to get something unique for that special someone on your list, helping the environment and supporting the local economy.

One of the most intangible benefits of shopping at local small businesses is finding the perfect gift for your friends and family. Independent sellers, in person or online, have the time and expertise to provide personalized recommendations and can tailor an offer to your specifications or provide local craftsmanship. Guides like Holiday San Jose and California Shop Small make it easy to find a unique gift.

A small purchase can be a small gift to Mother Earth. In 2020, Amazon produced approximately 600 million kilograms of plastic waste; approximately 23.5 million pounds of this waste ends up in waterways and oceans. Plastic usage at local businesses is much less than at big box stores and online retailers, especially if you bring your own bag and avoid unnecessary packaging.

You can also reduce emissions and reduce congestion associated with “last mile delivery,” especially if you run errands or walk or bike instead of driving. An easy commute and clean air benefits the environment and your community.

Spending your holiday dollars on small businesses is a gift to your community. These businesses are the backbone of healthy communities, and when you shop locally you invest in the strength of those communities. California in particular has a thriving entrepreneurial culture and San Jose is home to approximately 58,000 small businesses.

Local shopping research has found that for every $100 spent at a local retailer, $73 stays in the community, nearly 70% more than at a national retailer. Small business owners use their profits for other local small businesses and give back to the communities that support them. SCORE Association analysis shows that small businesses are 250% more likely to make donations to local nonprofits than large businesses.

Buying your holiday supplies online may avoid some sales taxes, but the taxes you spend at your local mom-and-pop store are filtered back to the schools, roads and other public institutions and services you rely on.

Additionally, when you shop at independent stores, you create good jobs for your neighbors. Small businesses in San Jose employ 402,000 workers. According to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, independent brick-and-mortar retailers create 47 jobs for every $10 million in revenue. Amazon creates less than half of that total with 19 jobs. In addition, small business owners are close to the people they serve. Many have risen to the top and work closely with their employees, aligning the success of their employees with the success of their business.

Making your holiday money local adds to the holiday spirit and is a gift worth more than the dollars you spend. When we buy less, we support stronger communities, fight environmental damage and show those around us that we care. Let’s make this a real season of giving.

Carolina Martinez is the CEO of CAMEO, a nationwide network of small businesses and a voice for businesses with one to five employees.

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