I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas. The tree doesn’t go up until after Thanksgiving. And I consider the day after turkey day a time for leftovers and football, not holiday shopping.
So of course I missed Small Business Saturday — a day that encourages us to spend our holiday shopping dollars with local merchants. It’s not too late, though. We can still support our friends and neighbors locally this season. How and where we spend our money through this month may well decide who is still in business in 2021.
I actually enjoy shopping at smaller businesses. I know the family who runs our local coffee shop where I can pick up gift certificates for yummy meals and foo-foo beverages. And no one can beat the personal service at our local hardware/gift store. I love that.
Thank heaven, too, for small merchants who have online stores. Here are few I’ve discovered that can ship worthwhile gifts:
Chugwater Chili (email@example.com). Chugwater, Wyoming is home to about 200 people and the Wyoming state championship chili recipe. In 1986, five families purchased the award-winning recipe and formed this small company. Warning: besides the world’s easiest and best chili you can make with this seasoning, you’ll find yourself adding it to everything from eggs to soup. And the families that run this business are darn friendly.
Sandhills seasoning (sandhillsbens.com) This family-run business in the Midwest grasslands known as the Sandhills offers a unique blend of spices to perk up meat, fish, vegetables and pasta. Before they had a website or took credit cards, word was you could call in your order and be instructed to “wait until you get (the seasoning) in the mail and then just send us a check.” My gourmet cook daughter has specifically asked that this seasoning be in her stocking this year.
Elevate (elevatepeople.com). Not nutrition-related but this bears mentioning if you’re looking for eco-friendly, high quality leather gifts. Founded by an American couple who moved to India to make a difference in the world, this non-profit organization provides artisans with a safe work environment, fair wages and the ability to provide food and a better living for their families. Proceeds are reinvested to create more opportunities in local communities.
One source I read reports that 62% of U.S. small businesses say they need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to be still be here in 2021. Let’s do our best — where we live — to keep these vital businesses afloat.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to firstname.lastname@example.org.