Shopping Small Impact

Hi, my name is Joelle and I am a Black Friday shopping junkie.  For the past 20 years, I have pre-planned my excursions and it is like my Christmas morning.  I have such fond memories with family and friends (my excitement wasn’t always about the deals I was getting, but the people I was with).  

One of my fondest memories was when we were living in Ohio.  My husband and I had some of our siblings visiting from North Dakota for Thanksgiving.  I woke up Thanksgiving morning, walked a mile to the gas station and bought two copies of the paper (just for the ads).  Friday morning we woke up real early and started our adventure.  This adventure led us to multiple locations, each person having a partner in crime to chat with.  My sister was in line for a TV (she chose her book as her partner in crime), my husband and brother-in-law went to buy tools, and my sister-in-law and I stood outside a toy store until they opened.  

Fast forward to 2020, I have a different point of view of my shopping excursions.  I still love to get great deals.  The stories I shared before, all the places we purchased from were big box stores.  Now, I have nothing against big box stores (trust me, Target is happy I live so close).  I currently have an appreciation of how shopping a small business can make such a huge impact from two perspectives: sustainability and giving back.

When customers choose to purchase from a small business, they are purchasing to help keep that business running.  If a big box store is “down on profit for the quarter”, they do not have to determine if they will have to go out of business or not (please go back and read the quotes in a Michael Scott voice, it makes the quote so much better😂).  Since the pandemic has started, I have watched so many storefronts and e-commerce stores go out of business or just try to stay afloat.  Knowing that my holiday purchases can make such an impact on a small business is what drives me to seek out high-quality items made from neighbors, friends, family, and complete strangers. 

The second perspective is from giving back.  Many small businesses were formed out of a passion to give back to a community.  Our community happens to lie with childhood cancer caregivers.  We are part of this community to which we never wanted to belong.  Once you enter the childhood cancer caregiver community, you realize just how important it is to have a tribe that understands.  This stands true for many communities that are going through devastating, life changing situations.  For us, we know what it is like to be in a hospital with your child on a holiday where everyone else is joyful and the caregiver is just trying to make it through each moment.  A pair of earrings is not going to change the devastation the caregiver is feeling.  We hope it sparks a moment of joy and a recognition that childhood cancer caregivers are not alone.

If you have read this far, thank you.  I appreciate your time dedicated to re-thinking how your holiday purchases can make a huge impact for a small business.  I will leave you with these questions, as they have helped navigate my purchases.

  • Who made this product?
  • Where is it coming from?
  • What is the mission behind the business?

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