Small businesses throughout Utah are counting on community members to shop small this weekend and throughout the make-or-break holiday season, owners say.
“Every dollar you spend in a locally-owned, independent business stays right here in our community — 55% of that dollar stays in our community,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said this week. “That’s compared to only 13% you spend at any big box store.”
If you’re shopping local Saturday, you may even win $500 in spending money — a prize Local First Utah is promoting ahead of its “Shop Small Crawl” that day, featuring dozens of local businesses.
“You keep more money in our economy, you elevate prosperity for Utahns of all types and you get to celebrate how it feels to be in a place with friends and neighbors, which is something that we’ve missed,” Local First Utah executive director Kristen Lavolette said this week of shopping small.
On Saturday, crawl shoppers — whether online or in person — can scan a QR code to enter into the giveaway. For a list of participating businesses, visit localfirst.org/shop-small-crawl-guide.
A term first coined by American Express in 2010, “Small Business Saturday” encourages shoppers to buy local following Black Friday, which pumps billions of dollars into the economy — mostly to the benefit of national and international retailers.
“Retailers like us operate at a loss through much of the year,” Matt Caputo, of Caputo’s Market and Deli, said this week. “Having a super busy holiday season is really where we make much of that up.”
Shopping local doesn’t necessarily mean skipping large online retailers and box stores, Caputo said. But he encouraged residents to spend some time perusing local business districts, where Mendenhall said small business owners and employees can offer personalized recommendations that beat most “Top 25 gifts” lists.
The King’s English bookstore, for instance, prides itself on finding the perfect pairing for each visiting reader.
“There might be a lot of books that are out on containers somewhere in the ocean” Anne Holman, of The King’s English, said. “But I promise we have a lot more books in the store that you’ll find and love.”
The Shop Small Crawl isn’t the only way to find unique gifts this weekend and throughout the holiday season: Wheeler Holiday Market, 6351 S. 900 East, opened in Murray for its annual shopping weekend with more than 30 vendors.
At the Bountiful Davis Art Center, located at 90 N. Main St., vendors from across the state will be selling handmade goods Tuesdays through Saturdays until Dec. 23.
The Neighborhood Hive Small Business Pop-up also features a variety of vendors at 2065 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, each Saturday this holiday season from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
And the seasonal Winter Farmers Market recently started at The Gateway, located at 400 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City. It runs on Saturdays through April from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.