Here’s why you should shop locally this Christmas season

Inside the tent, people could enter a raffle to get a free gift basket, have locally-bought gifts wrapped, or simply drink free hot chocolate provided by Starbucks.

Inside the tent, people could enter a raffle to get a free gift basket, have locally-bought gifts wrapped, or simply drink free hot chocolate provided by Starbucks.

Black Friday shopping is deadly. Literally.

 

Since 2006, 90 people have been trampled, pepper sprayed, shot at, attacked and stabbed in Black Friday related incidents. Seven have died, and in 2011, one man collapsed and died at a Target, only to be ignored and walked over by shoppers.

 

We’re willing to harm people over such temporary things, like parking spaces and the perfect gift for your four-year-old that they’ll likely outgrow in two years. The day, which is ironically placed after Thanksgiving, encourages being materialistic at all costs.

 

So forget Black Friday. While it does an excellent job of supporting big companies that can have huge sales, small businesses are left to compete against them during one of the biggest shopping seasons. That’s why for a number of years, Decatur has participated in Small Business Saturday.

 

In the month of November, spending $200 in Decatur businesses would get you a $20 gift card to a Decatur restaurant.

 

Katie Abel, the special events coordinator for Decatur said that Small Business Saturday is “encouraging people to keep in Decatur,” and is an “awesome way to help businesses in Decatur.”

 

Some Decatur stores had Black Friday sales in addition to Small Business Saturday sales. Squash Blossom and Square Foot, both co-owned by Tara Blanchard, had up to 30 percent sales at both stores on Black Friday in order to keep up with bix-box companies and 10 percent sales on Small Business Saturday.

 

“It is a business, and we do have to make money,” Blanchard said.

Abel and some volunteers helped out at the Small Business Saturday tent set up in the square.

 

The sign outside of Square Foot promotes Small Business Saturday in order to “get people in and keep them from shopping big box,” Blachard, co-owner of Square Foot, said.

The stores have had Small Business Saturday sales since American Express “spearheaded it,” Blanchard said, “Which is ironic because they’re one of the biggest companies.”

 

Small Business Saturday isn’t only good for supporting local shops, it’s better for getting into the Christmas spirit. Christmas is about giving, but not just gifts. It’s about feeling spirited and celebrating.

Shop locally. Not only is it better for local stores, but it’s safer too.