Local Holiday Gift Guide

gift guidePhoto by Sasha Pedro.

What Happens When You Shop Local?

Did you know that when you shop locally, three times as much money stays in your home city compared to when you shop at a chain?

That’s because local business owners are more likely to utilize other local services, like a lawyer or an accountant, according to Cambridge Local First Executive Director Adriane Musgrave. They also give a larger portion of their revenue to local nonprofits, she says.

“It’s our local businesses that are donating food, or raffle items, or giving monetary donations, because they know the individuals, they know the need,” Musgrave explains.

The difference is even more stark compared to shopping online: spending your money locally keeps close to 50 times as much money at home versus when you buy “from an online mega-retailer,” according to the American Independent Business Alliance.

“You really are contributing to your community when you shop locally,” Musgrave says. “You’re having the chance to keep that business in operation, providing a value to yourself as a neighbor who wants to frequent a business like that. It keeps the street vibrant, it brings people into town.”

If you’re already buying into shopping locally, there are still things you can do to further support your city’s businesses. First, consider carrying cash when you’re doing your holiday shopping—credit and debit card fees can pose a real issue to small businesses, especially on low-priced items. Second, help spread the word in person and online, Musgrave suggests.

“If there’s a local business that you really like, talk to your friends about it,” she says. “If you can share these positive moments online, either by writing a positive Yelp review or Google Maps review, sharing it to your friends or followers, that goes a long way to helping our businesses reach more people.”

Local Gift Guide

Gift guide words and photos by Sasha Pedro unless otherwise noted.

This story originally appeared in the Celebrating the Season issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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