Last Christmas season, in an effort to support locally owned and operated businesses, I made a point to shop FIRST in downtown Camas, Washougal, and other small companies in Vancouver. My goal was to buy as much as I could without going to the mall, or into the traffic congested streets of Portland — or even going online.
The results amazed me! I was able to make 80 percent of my purchases before going anywhere else. I found some really cool treasures, some really fun gifts that my sons continue to enjoy. Once I did all I could at these sweet little shops, I ventured to the malls, struggled to find a parking space, listened to the madness, and made other purchases.
Yes, the mall has some great things, too, and I was happy to support the local business there, as well. But, I was all too pleased to leave and return to the peace of Downtown Camas to sip a hot chocolate at Caffe Piccolo, or enjoy a burger at Feast.
I see daily the up’s and down’s that local small businesses contend with, and I appreciate their steadfastness and continued hard work to serve us. So, I went to several local shops, and asked them what we can do to support them.
Here’s the list:
- When you visit the store, check-in on social media.
- Snap a photo of a product you like.
- Post the photo and tag the store on social media.
- Share your favorite store’s social media posts. Like, follow, share, share, share.
- Bring in your out-of-town guests.
- Follow the store on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
- Word of mouth. Simply tell your friends to shop there for Christmas purchases.
- Get to know the retailers and how they support other businesses, including local artists, jewelers, card designers.
- Choose in-store products that give back to charitable foundations.
- Boost a store’s Yelp presence by giving them a positive review.
And, of course, buy, buy, buy!