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To support small businesses, consider shopping local this holiday season.

Shop local this holiday season

Friday, December 17, 2021

Media Contact: Kirsten Hollansworth | Communications Graduate Student | 405-744-0442 |

The holiday season will be more special this year as people once again gather in person to celebrate. Make a positive impact in your community and remember why shopping local matters — it helps to support local businesses hurt by the pandemic.

Shopping local is the gift that keeps on giving. Your choice to shop local and support small business owners during the holidays will boost the local economy and build a thriving community.

“The holiday season can make or break a small business,” said Andrea Graves, business planning and marketing specialist with the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. “The last few months of the year are often the busiest for small food businesses because their products are commonly given as gifts or used for special occasions.”

January, February and March are often the slowest of the year and small businesses depend on holiday spending to get them through these lean months, Graves said.

“Although small food businesses often command slightly higher prices compared to national products, with community support, local entrepreneurs can thrive in economic growth and development,” Graves said.

Specialists with FAPC recommend the following tips for supporting your community.

Spend time learning about local businesses

Instead of online shopping from big box stores, visit local stores first for a more personalized shopping experience.

Have you taken advantage of community events near you? Holiday festivities at churches and schools often include vendor booths which provide community members a chance to discover a local artisan with one-of-a-kind stocking stuffers and gifts.

Supporting small businesses doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Remember, consumers can offer support to small, local businesses by spreading the word about them to others and engaging with small businesses on social media.

Make holiday meals from local ingredients

Locally sourced foods are fresher and directly support local farmers. When planning for holiday meals, consider shopping at the community’s farmers markets or local grocery stores first.

In addition to the fresh ingredients, you can learn about a specific ingredient directly from the person who grew it or sourced it locally. When you shop and eat local, you can find fruits and vegetables at peak freshness from a local farmers market or grocery store.

Purchase from small businesses online

Connecting with small business entrepreneurs is as easy as purchasing from them online. The Made In Oklahoma Program and the Made in Oklahoma Coalition provide resources for small businesses owners who grow, process or manufacture goods within Oklahoma. Both organizations list small, in-state companies on their websites for shoppers wanting to buy local.

Independent shops are still struggling to recover from pandemic-related staffing and supply issues, which could slow down business. Although most shoppers have come to expect speed, while shopping, most small businesses struggle to keep up. Remember to offer patience by being understanding to small business owners.

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.

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