Do you ever pause to think about where your money goes when you click “add to cart”? In an era of convenience shopping, it’s easy to overlook the impact of our consumer choices. Each purchase at a faceless corporation funnels money away to distant boardrooms, that view your purchase as just another transaction on a balance sheet.

In contrast, spending your hard-earned cash at small, locally-owned businesses is like watering the seeds of your city. It keeps your dollars circulating in the local economy, supports the livelihood of your neighbors, drives local job creation and contributes to the business goals of community  members.

Supporting small businesses is easier than you think. Below are some simple ways to give back to your city’s economy:

Support local businesses for unique gifts

If you still have some holiday shopping left, consider making your purchases from locally-owned businesses. Not only will you be supporting your community, but you’ll also be able to find unique gifts that you can’t find in big-box stores. Small businesses offer a personal touch and exclusivity that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, when the person you give the gift to inevitably asks, “Where did you find this?” it opens the door to sharing a more personal story about how you discovered a wonderful small business.

Support local restaurants

There’s something special about discovering a hidden gem in your own city. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite after a long day of shopping or looking for a cozy spot to relax with a cup of coffee, why not venture out and explore the local restaurants and coffee shops? Not only do they provide a unique and authentic dining experience, but they also support local entrepreneurs. Plus, you never know when you might stumble upon a new favorite dish. So why not ditch the same old chain restaurants and embrace the local flavor? Your taste buds (and your community) will thank you.

Share your finds on social

After shopping around or trying a new dish, did you find anything that you especially loved? Don’t gatekeep your experience! Spread the love by sharing a post on social media. It’s easy, free and provides the business owner with well-deserved publicity. Plus, your friends may follow your lead.

Leave a review

Online reviews hold immense power in today’s digital world. It’s no secret that a good review can significantly boost a local business’s visibility and attract new customers. With the holiday season in full swing, spread some kindness and show your support by leaving a review on Yelp, Google or Facebook. Your review could be the deciding factor for someone seeking out a new spot.

Donate or volunteer

In addition to shopping small, another way to make a difference is by donating and volunteering at area non-profits. These organizations are doing incredible work to help address community challenges, but they can’t do it alone. Now is a great time to give back to the causes you care about, whether your passion lies in supporting the arts, fighting hunger or helping local animals. Let’s come together as a community to make a positive impact during the holiday season and  all year round.

Breaking old shopping habits might seem daunting, but supporting local businesses is easier than you think. Shopping small, eating at local restaurants and leaving an online review are just a few ways to show your support to your community. Truthfully, every little bit can make a difference. So go and try something new, support your local economy and treat yourself, you won’t regret it!

Here are some local businesses in Northeast Wisconsin that Red Shoes is proud to support this holiday season:

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