Five ways to shop local

Since my husband and I just moved downtown, we’ve had a great opportunity to try some locally-owned places in our new neighborhood. In fact, I’d say most of the places within a mile radius or so are locally-owned. Admittedly, it is sometimes difficult to pay the “extra” to buy items locally that are available for less online or through a chain, but the service and quality tend to be a bit better.

So it got me thinking…when I move back to the ‘burbs later this year, how can I keep up the momentum? Here are my top five thoughts below:

  1. Be more observant throughout your local neighborhood. What are the opportunities to support local business instead of always giving it to the big name chain stores?
  2. Make shopping an experience. Lots of art festivals and farmer’s markets are coming up, so take advantage of the talented artists in the area and fresh produce.
  3. Buy experience gifts. Choose massages, tours, community playhouse events, classes or other local services. I purchased community playhouse tickets for my in-laws for Christmas, so while we volunteered/ushered for the show, they got to enjoy it with us.
  4. Dine local. Grab lunch, happy hour, a coffee, ice cream or produce from a local place where you don’t usually don’t go. If you have an Entertainment Book, make a list of the local coupons you’d like to use before they expire. Mom’s Diner, anyone?
  5. Write positive reviews. Yelp or foursquare are places to submit evaluations of your favorite businesses.

How are you helping local businesses (like mine!)? Let me know in the comments below.