If Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s emphasis on consumerism is just too much for you, there is a viable option to search for unique Christmas gifts while supporting local, small and Black businesses. The less popular Small Business Saturday option encourages shoppers to patronize small businesses, whether in person or online. Here are a few tips to make the best of the day.
Small businesses tend to depend on foot traffic as opposed to the big advertising budgets that big box stores and department stores can command. Seek out the stores in your city or are that are part of the main street or shopping area instead of the mall.
These stores are often either run by craftsmen and women local to the area, or they buy from them. Jewelry, personal care gifts and clothing are usually what they have to offer, so focus your shopping for those items on those stores instead of the big retailers.
Black-owned retailers often struggle to get the attention of consumers in a crowded marketplace. With super sales going on through the holiday weekend, it’s hard for smaller businesses to find their audience.
If you can, this is a great time to support them, whether in person or online, as many of these smaller businesses don’t have brick and mortar stores. Also, don’t forget Instagram, where a number of online retailers have handmade crafts, jewelry, fitness, clothing and food businesses. Try the hashtag #blackowned to see what might be available.
Eat at a local restaurant, not a chain.
All this holiday shopping can work up quite an appetite. But instead of going to your local Applebee’s, check out a local small restaurant instead. Most folks know the Black-owned restaurant in their area, and if you don’t, you can usually find them via the city’s visitor’s center. Philadelphia, for example, has a listing of the city’s Black-owned businesses, including restaurants. If you call the local visitor’s center in most cities, they can identify the local Black-owned businesses as well.
Give to charity, business or support a cause.
Although it’s technically not small business, there are local and national charities that could use your help. As it’s getting close to the end of the year, it makes fiscal sense to give. You can choose to give to a small business by using Kiva, a micro-lending service that helps small businesses directly.
You can look through a bunch of pitches both locally and around the world and find a business you want to support, with as little as $15. You can also support a GoFundMe – recent ones have included money for Jamel Roberson’s family and Aisha Fraser’s daughters,
You can also give to deserving causes like the Tom Joyner Foundation, which supports HBCU’s, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or The Innocence Project, which helps wrongfully convicted prisoners get new trials.
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