The benefits of shopping local

Small business Saturday

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’ve seen many small businesses succumb to the rise of internet shopping. Today was all about reversing that trend and emphasizing the personal touch that comes with shopping local.

“Where the economy is going now, it’s all big business,” says shopper Carlos Williams.

In a time when online shopping is only getting bigger, small businesses are trying to remind people of the importance of spending those dollars where it will do the most good.

“When you’re shopping at these places, you’re helping out a family. And you may even see that family in there and you know you’re putting food on their table,” says shopper Rolethia Scott.

“That money goes back into the community where your kids go to school, where the police department is, where you come and do your shopping every year,” says Lauren Derrick with Ambiance Clothing and Home in Homewood.

Small Business Saturday was created in 2010, in an effort to rebuild the economy after the great recession. For many, it boils down to pride in your community.

“We want to keep these stores open, we don’t want to shop online other than Homewood. I live in Homewood and I love it and I love the stores!” says shopper Carolyn Beard.

And for store owners, it’s a chance to connect with the shoppers who become like family, by offering a unique and heartfelt experience you can’t get through the computer screen.

“We are able to have this one on one, personal connection with our shoppers that come in here and really we refer to them as friends. And I think that’s also part of what makes it so important,” says Ashley Thompson with Soca Girl in downtown Homewood.

So wherever you shop this weekend, don’t forget about your business-owner neighbor who might be counting on those dollars this holiday season. But also don’t forget about what you get in return.

“It goes beyond a shopping experience. Yes it’s about meeting your shopping needs, but it’s also just about loving people and getting to make their day and hopefully brighten their day,” says Thompson.

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