The Holidays: A Time For Economic Community Building

By: Eric Betts

The concept of buying from local businesses during the holiday season is a significant one, both for community development and leadership promotion. Local businesses form the backbone of many economies, often creating the majority of new jobs and contributing significantly to the local economy. When we choose to shop locally, we’re not just making a purchase, we’re voting with our wallet for a thriving community.

During the holiday season, when consumer spending is at its peak, this choice can make a substantial difference. It helps sustain local job growth, keeps money within the community, and supports the uniqueness of the area.

As a leader, promoting this concept is important because it encourages sustainable economic growth and fosters a sense of community. By advocating for local businesses, leaders can help create a virtuous cycle of prosperity that benefits everyone — consumers enjoy quality products and personalized services, businesses thrive, and communities strengthen. Furthermore, it underscores the leader’s commitment to their community and reinforces their role as a key stakeholder in its well-being.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the challenges local businesses face during the holiday season. High demand can often lead to increased pressure on these businesses, especially as many lack the infrastructure and resources that larger enterprises possess. They may struggle with inventory management, lacking the capital to invest in a surplus of products, or the storage space to keep them. Furthermore, the rise of online shopping poses a significant challenge. Many local businesses lack the technology or resources to compete with e-commerce giants, making it difficult to reach customers who favor the convenience of online shopping. Additionally, local businesses often operate on thinner profit margins, and the increased costs associated with the holiday season — such as extra staffing, extended hours, and festive decor — can eat into these margins. Thus, despite the surge in consumer spending, many local businesses find themselves locked out of profitability during this time.

The term “support local businesses” can sometimes give off an unintended impression of these establishments being charity cases, when in reality, that is far from the truth. These businesses are vibrant entities that significantly contribute to the economy and the character of our local communities. They aren’t merely entities seeking support; instead, they are purveyors of unique products, personalized services, and unparalleled customer understanding.

Local businesses provide a diverse array of goods that are often locally sourced or crafted with a level of love and attention that mass-production simply cannot match. So, when we talk about “supporting local businesses,” it’s not about charity; it’s about mutual benefit. By choosing local businesses, consumers aren’t just helping them survive; they’re empowering them to thrive and continue being an integral part of the community fabric. In return, consumers receive products and services of excellent quality that meet their needs, contributing to a more vibrant and resilient local economy. Therefore, supporting local businesses is a winning proposition for all involved.

Leaders who espouse this ethic understand that their businesses are not isolated entities; rather, they are integral components of a larger community ecosystem. As such, they recognize the importance of investing in the health and prosperity of this system. So, choosing to support local businesses isn’t just a business decision—it’s an act of community leadership, cementing a reciprocal bond that nurtures both the community and the businesses within it. When we consider the holiday spirit, it’s deeply connected with the idea of giving, sharing, and community building.

Furthermore, local businesses often offer unique, handmade, and personalized items that can add a special touch to holiday gift giving, embodying the holiday spirit of thoughtfulness and care. So, in essence, shopping at local businesses during the holidays isn’t just about economic transactions—it’s about upholding the holiday spirit of generosity, community, and reciprocity.

By: Eric Betts

Udemy Instructor in Religion, Leadership and Ethics