Editorial: As you prepare for 2020 holiday shopping, think local

  • Shoppers meet Santa at Northbrook's la de da! gift shop on Small Business Saturday in 2018.

    Shoppers meet Santa at Northbrook's la de da! gift shop on Small Business Saturday in 2018. Courtesy of Northbrook Chamber of Commerce

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 11/27/2020 9:15 AM

The fate of your favorite small businesses rests in the palm of your hands.

You could take the easy way out this holiday season and just point and click on the omnipresent everything-in-one-place-two-day-delivery app on your cellphone and get all of your Christmas shopping done in an hour or two.

 

Who could blame you? After all, we're in the middle of a pandemic. It's cold. You might have to put on real pants if you go outside.

Today -- Black Friday -- the time when businesses traditionally make a good chunk of their profit for the year, it's important to remember that there is always a trade-off when you focus purely on convenience.

And that trade-off this year could very well be the extinction of some of your favorite mom-and-pop stores.

Sure, the national and regional chain stores should do well today on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday.

They have sophisticated websites that can handle lots of traffic.

But what of the small businesses that have nothing more than a Yelp review, a phone number and an address? Without people shoulder to shoulder in their shops, without a website where they can show you their wares and give you options for ordering online, many of them are at risk of closing up shop for good.

We are not suggesting you throw caution to the wind. The pandemic is real, and the infection rate is high.

But without your business in the next couple of weeks, odds grow that some of your favorite businesses will not make it much past the Christmas shopping season to see a day where COVID-19 is under wraps and we can walk unimpeded into stores.

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Two weeks ago, we encouraged you to patronize your favorite restaurants -- those that have evolved to include takeout food -- to help them weather this storm. With the onset of winter and more stringent indoor dining restrictions established last week, that message is more important than ever.

The same goes for your locally-owned stores, galleries and more.

If they offer a safe alternative to the madding crowds, consider them for your holiday shopping. If you don't know, give them a call. You won't know unless you try.

In July the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did a survey that found 70% of small businesses were concerned about financial hardship due to prolonged closures and 58% were worried about permanently closing.

Sure, it means holiday shopping may be more challenging this year. But think of how rewarding it would be to buy a loved one a one-of-a-kind item, knowing that at the same time you are giving a small business a fighting chance at survival.

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow. Help your local businesspeople celebrate a happy new year.

Shop local.

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