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No Time Like the Present

Christmas is a time of giving, and there is never a better time to give back to your local community than by shopping local and supporting small business.

Article
Lindsey Mills
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
November 28, 2018

It’s that time of year for spending lots of money and collecting lots of things. The holidays, for many, means shop ‘til you drop. Unlike the pastime of window shopping through the rest of the year, December will likely pull the cash from your bank account and deplete your available credit.

Shoppers are about to spend loads of money buying for their kids, their significant others, their in-laws, their employees, their pals … no one gets left behind in the season of giving! We’ll buy baked goods, clothes, toys, trinkets, and cards. We’ll shell out the pocket change and swipe our cards more and more as Dec. 25 draws near, and then a few more times after to scrape together what’s needed for those late celebrations with extended family.

I doubt anyone would be surprised to hear the numbers spent in the U.S. around the holidays. And maybe no one will be shocked, but perhaps discouraged, to see the number for how much is spent online instead of in retail stores. Last year consumers spent over $100 billion on purchases made online. If trends continue, the number will grow even higher this year.

Why is this disheartening? Because when we spend our money online instead of in our own community, that money can no longer be given to the businesses our neighbors work at. Which means less sales tax to fund our local treasury that feeds development in our neighborhoods.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s pretty cool that we live in an age where we can hop on a device, see something we want, and have it delivered to our doorstep. However, when we opt to save a few bucks by ordering online, we don’t get to see the product until it ends up in our hands.

Want to improve your community? Want your neighbors to stay in business? Want to see something, try it on, learn about it directly from an expert before purchasing? Let’s shop local.

T-Town is home to large department stores, small local businesses, antique treasure coves, and so much more. People will travel from all over to shop at some of Tulsa’s destinations, and it’s right here at our fingertips. When building your Christmas list for yourself or for others, here are some things to think about.

Go where there’s great service
You deserve it. I mean that. You, as a paying customer, deserve to be helped and have questions answered. When you walk into a store, you should feel welcomed. You should be offered assistance. You shouldn’t feel stalked by sales people, but rather as if there is someone who can solve your problem about finding the right gift, selecting the right size, or dealing with a defective product.

You’re spending your hard-earned money with a business, and if they appreciate that, they should do everything in their power to give you a great experience. That’s supposed to be the benefit of shopping in a brick-and-mortar versus online.

Small-business owners tend to care not just about making sales but about your overall shopping experience. As they are personally invested in the business and the community, they are committed to ensuring you are well looked after and your expectations are exceeded.

It’s better for the environment
Can you imagine how much paper and plastic packaging is flying around the world at any given moment due to the purchase of products from online and overseas retailers? Not to mention the carbon offsets from the fuel used to transport these products such great distances? By shopping locally, you are reducing your carbon footprint and creating habits that are sustainable to your local environment.

You’re giving to a family other than your own
It is probably safe to say that profits to local business owners are used to provide gifts for their family members and put Christmas lunch on a table not unlike your own. You can rest assured that your hard-earned money is, in turn, just as hard earned by small-business owners and their staff who work hard to give you their best product and service.
Shop local

Spend your money in the community you live in. Did you know that for every $100 you spend at small businesses, on average about $73 of that stays local? This compares to $43, should you spend the same amount of money at big chain and stockholder-owned retailers, and less than $10 for cyber retailers. Small-business owners also employ local people and in turn purchase products and services from other local independently owned businesses.

Here are some of my favorite finds since becoming a Tulsan.
The Snow Goose:  This charming store has been thriving for over 20 years in the beautiful Utica Square. Owned and operated by two sisters, this shop offers cards for every occasion, unique gifts for ages 5 to 105, and plenty of great stocking stuffer ideas!

Magic City Books:  If you’re a book nerd like me, this store is already on your favorites list. If not, you should still go check it out because if there’s one product you absolutely cannot spend too much money on, it’s books. No one is ever too old or too smart to keep learning. This store has something for everyone, including a great space to sit down with your new book and a cup of coffee they can whip up for you right there.

Dog Dish:  Anyone else spend more money on their dog than themselves? This shop offers custom-made treats for your best friend, along with a great selection of dog food, toys, and accessories. Spoil that extra family member by taking them in to let the ladies of this shop coo over and pamper your best furry friend. Your dog may need some retail therapy too, and take it from my dog, Kona, this is the place to go.

GET IN TOUCH
I want to hear your suggestions, whether you’re a native Tulsan or a newbie like us. We want to know where to hang out, pig-out, shop ’til we drop, and everything in between. If you know a place with a great story, share it with us so we can go check it out.

Every day is an adventure with our little family, and I’m sharing our story because I think some people can relate. Follow us on Instagram and/or search #TakenWithTulsa or #NewInTtown to check out our latest adventures as we seek out new experiences and share our advice on how to embrace Tulsa.