5 things to do when shopping local this holiday season

Dec 10 2021, 10:51 pm

The days left to get your holiday shopping done are numbered (sorry) and if you’re like us, chances are you want to be sure you’re choosing the perfect gifts for your friends and family.

Now for the good news: it’s possible to do this for those last-minute gifts while concurrently supporting small businesses in Calgary. The city is filled with local shops selling everything from artisan foods to homewares to fashion apparel.

More than half of Calgary’s retail sector (62%) is made up of small businesses that generate 3.9 times more economic activity than large corporations.

To help you expedite your holiday shopping and ensure you’re supporting local, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can share information on what stores to explore, services available (gift wrapping, anyone?), and most importantly, where to get your coffee fix mid-shopping and dinner afterwards to celebrate your gifting successes. That being said, make this season your time to shop local.

Peruse curated inventories

One of our favourite aspects of shopping local in Calgary is the fact that neighbourhood stores can carefully curate their inventory, choosing a selection of the best items especially for you. Whether you’re purchasing a candle by a local maker or a print by a local artist, that particular item was picked with care, which is something you might not see at other retailers.

Discover presents with a presence

When you shop at a local store — maybe even just around the corner in your community, there are plenty of gift ideas to consider. Shopping for fashionistas, sports fans, DIYers, pet parents, and everyone in between can be a lot easier when you know items are in stock and available in-store. There’s less need to worry about when stock levels might replenish or whether the gift will make it to your loved one’s address on time because you’ll have it there and then.

Help communities and businesses grow

Now more than ever, the holiday season means a lot to the local businesses that make up the fabric of our communities. And by shopping at neighbourhood stores, you can help Calgary’s small businesses and communities grow and thrive. At local stores, for every $100 spent, $58 goes back into the local economy. In addition, supporting local stores means supporting local jobs.

Share your artisanal finds

Learning about local stores and businesses in your community is a pretty special gift you can give yourself this season. When you visit the stores or service providers in person, you can return this holiday love by sharing your finds on social media with the hashtag #SupportLocalYYC. By doing so, you’ll be helping the businesses get more exposure, which could then result in more customers walking through the door. Look up the relevant neighbourhood BIA ahead of time to find links to retailer websites and social channels.

Find gifts that are sweet and simple

If you’re looking for a way to support local but don’t have the time to go shopping over the coming weeks, purchasing gift cards is a wonderful option. Is there a foodie or two on your list? If so, why not buy them a gift card for a local restaurant or cafe?  You could purchase one for yourself while you’re at it, so you have something to look forward to in the new year (weekend brunch is a no-brainer). The best part? You may be able to order gift cards online while still supporting neighbourhood spots.

You can avoid missing out on any of Calgary’s small business hidden gems by using local BIAs as a resource this season. Calgary has a total of 15 BIAs offering unique shopping experiences, and you can learn more about them at calgary.ca/BIA.

For more information about the impact of shopping local this holiday season, visit the City of Calgary’s Support Local website.

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