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Shop Local This Holiday Season

November 24, 2018

With Black Friday sales dominating television news footage and internet ads, it’s easy to get drawn in by that deal on a new smart TV, or housewares at 50 percent off. Big-box and national chain retailers can offer smokin’ deals, but the best value for our communities comes through spending you money at locally owned shops. Milwaukee is lucky to have a wealth of small, locally owned businesses throughout the city that can hook you up with unique clothing, household goods, music, bicycles, food, cards, holiday décor and more, each offering one-of-a-kind gifts often not mass-produced or shipped halfway around the globe, thus lessening our carbon footprints.

By patronizing locally owned businesses whenever possible, whether it be restaurants or retail, you’re sustaining your local economy. For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 stays in the community. According to Local First Milwaukee, an alliance of independently owned businesses and nonprofits, “money spent with a local business generates 75 percent more state and local tax revenues and is far more likely to be re-spent locally.”

Local businesses, owned by neighborhood entrepreneurs, create vibrant communities by occupying storefronts and hosting events. Because small business entrepreneurs often specialize in specific goods or services, they are very knowledgeable about what they sell and take the time to assist customers. Small business entrepreneurs have no shareholders to answer to, so customers, as well as their employees, are truly valued. Shopping locally also boots environmental sustainability, since many small businesses are right in neighborhoods, often within walking distance or a short drive. So bundle up, take a walk and explore the fine small businesses through Small Business Saturday:

For shops participating in Small Business Saturday by neighborhood, Milwaukee Magazine has published a convenient guide:

Also, check out Nest Holiday Pop-up Shop from Marquette University students at 157 S. 1st St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Milwaukee Makers Market at Discovery World from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you happen to miss Small Business Saturday, don’t fret—you can shop locally any time during the holiday season—and throughout the year.

Sheila Julson is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

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