How to Support Small Businesses During the Holiday Season

The Canadian economy shifted dramatically as a result of COVID-19 and the situation has a profound impact on the ability of businesses in Canada to operate. This rings particularly true for small, local businesses. Already struggling to make ends meet, with recent developments of city-wide lockdowns, 70 per cent of businesses in Toronto say they don’t have the finances to make it through this second wave shutdown, according to a recent survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Local business is essential for our economy. Not only does it bring growth and innovation to our communities, but it creates entrepreneurship opportunities and employment in our neighbourhoods. They also care about our communities: They know their customers by name, and it’s what makes them so special.

During this holiday season, there are things we can do that support small business, and it doesn’t have to put you too far out of pocket, either. Small contributions can make a big impact. Here are some suggestions:

Shop early

Small businesses don’t have a large team behind them to take orders and ship out their products, which could also mean they have a limited number of items they’re able to sell this season. If you already know there is something you want to buy particularly from your favourite local retailer, make sure to shop early. Otherwise you run the risk of something being sold-out. Plus, the majority of small businesses have longer shipping times (they’re not like Amazon) so by shopping early you also ensure your packages will arrive on time.

Woman with sign reading "Thank you for buying local."

Order curbside pickup from local restaurants—not delivery (if possible)

Many restaurants are offering curbside pickup with bespoke menus and bottle service. Order directly from the restaurant, not a food delivery app: Most apps have an egregious fee for restaurants to feature their business on the platform.

Shop your fruit and vegetables at a local grocer

While you could easily go to a big chain like Loblaws, try and buy your fruit and vegetables at your local green grocer. While it can feel less convenient, they need your business more than ever. Plus, they typically have the freshest varieties anyway!

Buy gift cards

Almost all small business—from restaurants to toy stores and flower shops—have gift cards available, and they’re the easiest way to give gifts to your loved ones this year. Look on the company’s website and social media accounts for details.

If you can’t support with your wallet, support with your voice instead

Your voice is a very powerful tool to spread positive reviews of some of your favourite local shops. Consider leaving a great review on your local retailers’ Google, Yelp, or social media page, or share the social media handles of the places you love on your own channels. It’s remarkable how effective word of mouth is.

Store employee wearing a mask.
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