A Shopping Plan for the Holidays: Small & Local!

A Shopping Plan for the Holidays: Small & Local! Main Photo

23 Nov 2021


As 2021 reaches its conclusion, small businesses across the country shift their attention to the holidays. They eagerly anticipate customers strolling through their doors in numbers that will help get back to pre-pandemic, “normal” operations. Beginning with Small Business Saturday on November 27, shopping local this holiday season is the perfect opportunity for residents and visitors alike to help these wonderful entrepreneurs that make Gage County so unique. Gage Area Growth Enterprise (NGage) can offer tips for both groups to make the most of the holiday season!

Small & local are important!

Small businesses are the backbone of any community, filling a critical role as a primary player in an area’s employment base. The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy reported there are 32.5 million small businesses in the country employing 46.8% of the private workforce and creating 43.5% of gross domestic product. For Nebraska, the number is 180,988 small businesses and 415,989 employees, or 49.2% of the state's total. It also reports small businesses have accounted for 62% of net new job creation since 1995. Most small businesses hire employees who live close to their operations, so that job creation is an incredible boost to local economies.

How consumers can help

While Small Business Saturday is a perfect time for customers to patronize local shops and kick off the holiday shopping season, it is also an excellent opportunity to develop a year-round recognition of their importance. The National Federation of Independent Business reported that from 2010 to 2018, $103 billion in sales has been generated for small businesses on Small Business Saturday. In 2018 alone, it reported 104 million shoppers spent $17.8 billion!

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on small businesses. The U.S. has seen a surge in business starts, with applications for new ventures increasing 24% in 2020 over 2019, according to data from the Census Bureau. In Gage County alone, 117 new businesses were formed in 2020. With many more in 2021, these entrepreneurs are beginning a difficult journey. The Office of Advocacy reports that from 1994 to 2019, approximately two-thirds of new employer establishments survived at least two years, with the five-year survival rate approximately one of every two businesses.

This year, Gage County residents can make it a priority to include local, small businesses as a primary resource for their holiday shopping. Main Street Beatrice and the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce are two excellent resources for locating small businesses and special events scheduled for Small Business Saturday and throughout the holidays. Other ways customers can help small businesses throughout the year include:

  • Engage on Social Media - Retweet and Like; Post to your neighborhood Facebook page.
  • Purchase a gift; then buy a gift card to use later in the year.
  • Dedicate your time - while purchasing from the small business goes directly to their bottom line, visiting these establishments regularly is just as critical. Small businesses often have only a few employees who work long hours without a chance to get out to other parts of the community. A 15 minute chat will go a long way to letting these entrepreneurs know that their services are valued. 

Business Tips

Small businesses can take several steps to prepare for Small Business Saturday and the extra traffic expected through the end of the year. Following a few simple steps can help maximize the holiday season and hopefully keep the momentum going throughout the year.

Define your brand as a small business

Shoppers want to shop small this year, so it is a good time to showcase your identity as a local business! Create a story around your brand to tell people about how it all started and what makes it special.

Offer customers a special gift

As a local business, make it a point to stand out from the crowd, by offering your target audience something appealing, something that they will cherish.

Pursue email marketing

Send out emails to remind people about the holiday season and any special plans and offers. Partner with other local businesses to tell customers where they could shop throughout the holidays and why shopping small is important to the community.

Ready your physical store 

Ensure stock and supplies are high and staff is scheduled to handle large crowds, with a To-Do list prepared to keep everything on track during hectic times.

As the holidays approach, NGage is proud to support the small businesses of the Gage County community. Please contact us with any questions about assistance by emailing or calling (402) 228-5869.